King Yin Lei to open for public visitsFollowing more than two years of intense on-site and off-site work supervised by Professor Tang Guohua, conservation expert from Guangzhou University's College of Architecture and Urban Planning, the restoration of King Yin Lei, a declared monument, has been completed and members of the public can, for the first time, enter the mansion to appreciate its architectural beauty.
The Commissioner for Heritage's Office of the Development Bureau will organise 10 open days at King Yin Lei falling on weekends from April 2 to 17 and the Easter holidays (April 22 to 25) for the public to visit the building.
A spokesman for the Development Bureau today (March 23) said that following the completion of restoration works, the next challenge is to find a suitable use for King Yin Lei that will meet the objectives of sustainable heritage conservation and public accessibility.
"We will include King Yin Lei in the third batch of historic buildings under the Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme (Revitalisation Scheme) to identify the most suitable use for the building under the management of a non-profit-making organisation. Details of the third batch of the revitalisation scheme will be announced in June.
"We hope that the open days will help stimulate public views and suggestions on the adaptive re-use of the monument. An opinion card will be distributed during the open days for visitors to let us know their views," the spokesman said.
Admission tickets for visiting King Yin Lei can be collected through the following three channels:
(a) Through online registration at the heritage conservation website of the Development Bureau (www.heritage.gov.hk) from 8am tomorrow (March 24);
(b) Complete the registration form available at the heritage conservation website from 8am tomorrow (March 24). Registration forms should be returned to the Commissioner for Heritage's Office via fax at 3167 2699; or
(c) Admission tickets will also be distributed at the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre (HDC) at Kowloon Park, Haiphong Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, from March 26 (Saturday) during opening hours. HDC is open from Mondays to Saturdays (except Thursdays) from 10am to 6pm and on Sundays and public holidays from 10am to 7pm. Please visit the Antiquities and Monuments Office's website (www.amo.gov.hk) to learn more about the HDC.
Each open day will have a morning session from 10am to 12.30pm and an afternoon session from 2pm to 4.30pm. Each person can obtain a maximum of four tickets in any one session on a first-come, first-served basis. A total of 20,000 tickets will be distributed to the public.
There are no parking facilities at King Yin Lei. Members of the public are encouraged to use public transport to access the venue.
For enquiries about the open days, please call the Commissioner for Heritage's Office of the Development Bureau at 2848 6213 or 2848 6214.
Originally named "Hei Lo", King Yin Lei was built in 1937 by Mrs Shum Li Po-lun and Mr Shum Yat-chor, a merchant and philanthropist from Guangdong Province. The building combines Chinese and Western architectural influences in a sophisticated manner, demonstrating the superb building technology and craftsmanship available in Hong Kong's pre-war period.
In September 2007, works to remove the roof tiles, stone features and window frames were noticed at King Yin Lei, arousing a public outcry and calls for its preservation. The Government took decisive action by declaring the building a proposed monument and reached an agreement with the owner swiftly for a non-in-situ land exchange, marking a precedent in Hong Kong's protection of privately owned historic buildings under the new heritage conservation policy adopted in 2007. As part of the agreement, the owner consented to fund King Yin Lei's restoration costs.
King Yin Lei was declared a monument in July 2008 and put under permanent statutory protection. Through the assistance of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, Professor Tang Guohua was commissioned to draw up a restoration proposal. Restoration work commenced in September 2008 and was substantially completed by December 2010.
Ends/Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:09