The former Central Magistracy is one of the oldest surviving law court buildings in Hong Kong.
An earlier and smaller magistracy was built on the same site in 1847 and was demolished in 1912 to make way for the present building. The new Central Magistracy was completed in 1914 and the courts in it opened in April 1915.
The Neo-classical facade presents a majestic appearance highlighted by a number of distinctive stylistic elements, including the use of the giant order, the Greek key string course and keystone arches. It also features a verandah with six two-storey-high Doric fluted columns supporting a frieze, above which is an open attic surmounted by a simple entablature with a date stone. The principle facade, on the east, towers above a high, solid revetment wall. The recessed central doorway in the wall was the entrance used by the magistrates.
Closed down in 1979, the Magistracy was used temporarily as a High Court annex and then as offices by the Immigration Department and police officers’ associations.
The former Central Magistracy, the old Central Police Station Compound and the old Victoria Prison Compound form a unique cluster of buildings, which allow the historical development of the institutions for law and order in Hong Kong since the mid-19th century to be traced.
Introduction to the Central Police Station Compound