Location within Hong Kong
|Built for||War Office|
The Victoria Barracks (Chinese: 域多利兵房) were a barracks in the Admiralty area of Central on Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong. The barracks were constructed between the 1840s and 1874, and situated within the area bounded by Cotton Tree Drive, Kennedy Road and Queensway. Together with Murray Barracks, Wellington Barracks and Admiralty Dock, the barracks formed a British military zone in Central. The barracks was named for Queen Victoria, monarch at the time of construction.
The barracks were one of the first British military compounds in Hong Kong and were used by the Japanese during the Japanese occupation (1941–1945). They underwent major restoration after World War II. Part of the land was returned to the Hong Kong Government in 1967; most of the rest was transferred to the government in 1979.
According to the Hong Kong Heritage Society, a Shinto-style arch was built and a pilau stone was erected by the Japanese Navy during the war. These Japanese structures still existed in the barracks in the late 1970s.
Part of the barracks were subsequently used as a branch office of the Immigration Department; illegal immigrants went to the Victoria Barracks office for registration to apply for Hong Kong identity cards in 1979.
In March 1977, the Governor of Hong Kong appointed the Victoria Barracks Planning Committee to advise him and the Executive Council on the planning of the area; in September in the same year, the committee published the Report to the Governor-in-Council on the Future Development of Victoria Barracks.
The planning of the redevelopment of the Victoria Barracks had led to the strong public pressure in the late 1970s. According to the Report, the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Hong Kong Heritage Society objected to the setting up of the ad hoc committee, separate from the Town Planning Board.
In the report, the committee suggested that the public supported the preservation of the mature trees and the green zones, including the wooded slopes, in the barracks; also, it was suggested that Flagstaff House and other historic buildings should be preserved. The Hong Kong Squash Racquets Association supported the retention of the historic squash court building, which was later demolished during the redevelopment and replaced by a new one. The Scout Association of Hong Kong requested to be allocated some of the buildings and structures to set up a scout training centre.
Some people proposed that the government should re-site the proposed new secondary school, the government offices and the then Supreme Court (now the High Court).
In 1979, the Government released the final planning proposal; the Urban Council, the Conservancy Association and the Hong Kong Heritage Society were dissatisfied that the Government refused to preserve the whole site of the barracks.
Part of the site was converted to the Hong Kong Park while the southern part of the barracks was where Pacific Place, the High Court and Queensway Government Offices now stand.
Some of the buildings within the barracks were preserved and graded as Grade I historic buildings:
Ching Yi To Barracks (正義道軍營), formerly known as "Queen's Line", was part of the barracks. The current Ching Yi To Barracks is used by the People's Liberation Army. Dragon House and Paget House (百捷樓) were two of the buildings of the former Victoria Barracks within the area occupied by the current barracks.
The following buildings were destroyed when the barracks were redeveloped into the Park: