Antiquities Advisory Board

The Antiquities Advisory Board is a statutory body [1] of the Government of Hong Kong created in 1976 to evaluate old buildings in Hong Kong, and to recommend those with historical or architectural merit for listing as monuments. It is under the responsibility of the Home Affairs Bureau, directly under the Leisure and Cultural Service Department. Its head office is now housed in Former Kowloon British School.


Although the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, which allowed for its creation was passed in 1971, it was only created as a result of the decisions to demolish the 1911 GPO building in 1976, and the KCR Tsim Sha Tsui terminus.[2]


It advises the Antiquities Authority which historical items can be declared as monument or a proposed monument under of the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap. 53), how to restore and conserve the historical items, and to promote the conservation of Hong Kong's heritage. It is therefore responsible for grading buildings in and around Hong Kong. However, the grading status is not-binding on the Government.[3]

A member of the 23-person body, Professor Ho Pui Yin, a social and economic historian at Chinese University, believes the Board's power lies in its public support, and that the government is forced to listen to its views for fear of a media backlash, but she has criticised some members of the Board as having "little connection to the conservation of historic buildings and monuments" and that "appointed members have political stances and are mostly conservative in the sense that they consider antiquities on the basis of economic value."[4]


According to Section 17 of the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Chapter 53), the Antiquities Advisory Board consists of members the Chief Executive may appoint. One of the members is appointed by the Chief Executive to be Chairman.[5] This is a reason why many of the members (including the Chairman) are neither archaeologists nor historians. Instead, many of them are politicians or merchants.

Important cases

Kowloon Station (1978)

Some members of the newly created Board attempted to intervene to save the Tsim Sha Tsui terminus of the Kowloon Canton Railway from demolition, but was informed that it did not have any right in the matter.[2]

Hong Kong Club Building (1980)

After initially hesitating to intervene in the case of privately held property, the board voted in the eleventh hour, late in 1980,[6] to make the Hong Kong Club Building a declared monument.[7] A petition was sent to the Executive Council,[8] but the plea was rejected on 16 September 1980 on grounds it would cost an "unacceptable" HK$500 million to rescue.[7]

Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier (2006)

In 2001, an impact assessment report[9] for the Central reclamation, noting the public attachment to the Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier and its clock tower, recommended its relocation, was approved by the Antiquities Advisory Board in 2002.[10]

Queen's Pier (2007)

The AAB convened a public hearing on 9 May 2007 to discuss the grading of Queen's Pier.

Board members voted by a majority to give it a 'Grade 1' listing, but without a recommendation to the government on its status as a monument.[11] However, the Government ignored the vote, stating that its motion was non-binding on the Government.[3]

Ho Tung Gardens (2013)

Ho Tung Gardens was declared a proposed monument in 2011, but was demolished in 2013.

See also


External links

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