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Queen's Pier assessed as Grade I Historic Building

The following release is issued on behalf of the Antiquities Advisory Board:

At the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) meeting held today (May 9), the Queen's Pier was assessed to be a Grade I historic building. The AAB also noted that Government engineering experts had completed studying the technical feasibility of various options for the preservation of the Queen's Pier, and made recommendations on its preservation.

The existing Queen's Pier, built in 1953-1954, is the second generation Queen's Pier. The first Queen's Pier was built in 1925 and mainly used as an official ceremonial pier. It was demolished in the late 1950s as a result of reclamation in Central. This second Queen's Pier was also used as a ceremonial pier. Since 1958, the Queen's Pier has been the landing place for six Governors of Hong Kong upon their arrival, where they would then proceed to take their oath of office at the City Hall (after 1963). Having discussed the heritage assessment of the Queen's Pier in detail, the AAB decided that it should be a Grade I historic building.

"The grading system for assessing built heritage is an internal reference mechanism of the AAB with no statutory authority. Historic buildings are graded in order to identify their heritage value," a spokesman for the AAB said.

The assessment criteria adopted by the AAB have covered many aspects, including historical interest, architectural merit, rarity, group value, social value, collective memory and authenticity. Grade I historic building is defined as buildings of outstanding merit of which every effort should be made to preserve if possible.

The grading mechanism makes no specific requirement on how the built heritage should be preserved. The preservation option would depend on such factors as the structure, condition and features of individual building, as well as the technical feasibility. The grading of the Queen's Pier as a Grade I historic building by the AAB would have no effect on the options of reassembling the Pier (including the option of reassembling it at its original location).

"Such a grading has taken into account the views of various non-governmental concern groups and professional bodies expressed at the Public Hearing Session held before the AAB meeting, in addition to the heritage assessment report submitted by the Antiquities and Monuments Office," the spokesman pointed out.

The AAB also noted that in the past few months, engineering experts of the Government had worked with professional bodies to study the feasibility of various options for the preservation of the Queen's Pier. Public consultation on the location and design concepts for reassembling the Pier has been launched by the Planning Department.

At its meeting on December 12, 2006, the AAB affirmed its decision taken in 2002 of not raising objection to the demolition of the Queen's Pier. At its meeting on March 6, the AAB asked the Antiquities and Monuments Office to conduct a further study on the heritage value of the Queen's Pier for the AAB's consideration of its grading.

Ends/Wednesday, May 9, 2007
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