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Fireboat Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery opens today

The "Fireboat Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery" in Quarry Bay Park, Hong Kong Island, was officially opened today (September 29). The setting up of the gallery is to conserve this historic fireboat, enhance visitors' knowledge of the history of Hong Kong's sea rescue operations and preserve the collective memories associated with this very special fireboat.

Officiating guests at today's opening ceremony were the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services (LCSD), Mr Thomas Chow, the Acting Director of Fire Services, Mr Lo Chun-hung, the Chairman of Eastern District Council, Ms Christina Ting, and the Project Director of Architectural Services Department, Mr Wilson Lee.

Mr Chow said the Fireboat Alexander Grantham played an important role in Hong Kong's sea rescue operations. During its service period from 1953 to 2002, it took part in numerous fire-fighting and rescue operations, including the fire on the vessel "Seawise University" in 1972 and the fire at Aberdeen typhoon shelter in 1986.

"The fireboat witnessed the historical moments of Hong Kong in the past 50 years. When it was decommissioned in 2002, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department decided to restore the fireboat to its former glory and construct an exhibition gallery for the public to learn more about its contribution thus enhancing their knowledge of local sea rescue operations," Mr Chow said.

The Fireboat Alexander Grantham was built by the Hong Kong Whampoa Dock Company Limited in 1951. With a hull almost 40 metres in length, the fireboat had a displacement of 503 tonnes and a speed of 12.5 knots per hour. The vessel was equipped with eight fire-fighting monitors, one of which was installed on a telescopic tower that could extend to about 18 metres above sea level. To extinguish fires aboard different types of vessels, the fireboat could pump 630,000 gallons of water per hour and generate 150,000 gallons of foam every 30 minutes. This fireboat, named after the Hong Kong governor who launched it, was one of the most modern fire-fighting vessels of its time.

The Fireboat Alexander Grantham is the first boat preserved by the department as an historical relic and also the largest collection item of the museums in Hong Kong. The fireboat and gallery are now combined to make a contribution to Hong Kong again in a unique way.

The "Fireboat Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery" is divided into three sections: "Before the Emergence of the Alexander Grantham" (1883–1953), "During the Service Period of the Alexander Grantham" (1953–2002) and "After the Decommissioning of the Alexander Grantham" (2002 to present). It showcases some 70 precious artefacts and historical photographs.

Apart from the fireboat itself, highlight exhibits include a number of relics related to fire-fighting, such as a metal helmet worn by Hong Kong firefighters in the late 19th century, a fire helmet worn by firemen during firefighting and rescue operations in 1970s and rescue tools used by firefighters. On display are also some precious items, which were used on the fireboat. They include a brass bell, a bronze plate serving as the ship's production certificate, an old-style communications instrument, the international signal flags and a visitor's book.

Some valuable historical photographs, including the Hong Kong Fire Brigade, the launch ceremony of the Fireboat Alexander Grantham held at Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock, fire-fighting and rescue operations participated in by Fireboat Alexander Grantham, are also on display.

The "Fireboat Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery" is located in Quarry Bay Park, Hong Kong. Visitors can take Exit E from MTR Tai Koo Station, and walk through Cityplaza and then cross the footbridge to the Quarry Bay Park. It takes about 10 minutes' walk to the gallery. Visitors may also take Exit A from Sai Wan Ho MTR Station and then head west via the Hong Kong Film Archive to Quarry Bay Park. This walk also takes about 10 minutes. Or, they may take any bus that runs via Lei King Road (2A, 2X, 77, 84, 85, 99, 110, 506, 722, N8) and get off at the bus stop opposite Lei King Wan Leisure Area and walk westwards for about five minutes, passing by the Hong Kong Film Archive, to Quarry Bay Park.

The gallery opens from 9am to 5pm daily. It is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays) and the first two days of the Chinese New Year. Admission is free.

For more details, please visit Hong Kong Museum of History's website at or call 3580 6770.

Ends/Saturday, September 29, 2007
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