Xinhua News Agency, Hong Kong, November 14th, Wire Title: Central Market, Hong Kong: Revitalizing ancient buildings with new vitality

  Xinhua News Agency reporter Huang Qiantian

  In a corner of the downtown area of ​​Central, a prime location in Hong Kong, the Central Market, which is classified as a Grade 3 historic building, is hidden among many office buildings.

As the name suggests, Hong Kong’s market refers to a neighborhood market that mainly buys and sells daily necessities and fresh food. The Central Market has always been one of the most representative due to its long history and large scale.

  After being out of service for 18 years, the Central Market was fully restored and reopened.

This landmark building that carries countless memories of the "old Hong Kong" has been transformed. Instead of selling vegetables and meat, it has become a vivid business card for the preservation and promotion of traditional Chinese culture and Hong Kong's urban landscape.

  Mottled historical traces

  Stepping into the Central Market, more than 500 pocket-sized red egg lamps are particularly eye-catching, and the bustling and lively atmosphere of the market in the past rushes into your face.

  “This kind of light is rare now, but as soon as I see it, it reminds me of the days when I was a child when I followed adults to buy eggs in the market.” said Ms. Xu, a Hong Kong citizen, in order to distinguish eggs in the previous market. Customers often take a dustpan, put their fancy eggs in, and then get close to the lamp under the red lampshade one by one to take photos.

  Under the dazzling red light, the image of customers once observing the eggshell pattern with breathlessness seems to emerge in front of them.

  In the revitalized Central Market, the most preserved original design is undoubtedly the main staircase made of terrazzo.

Today, the stone surface laid on the stairs has been carefully restored, and the mottled historical traces have been preserved, attracting many citizens to "check in".

  In fact, this kind of wide and large staircase built to facilitate loading and unloading of goods in the past was also a location where many photographers often lingered.

In the 1950s and 1960s, in the shots of the famous photographer He Fan, the figures of mothers driving their children, the eldest daughters taking care of younger siblings, and coolie workers hurried up and down the stone ladder with their shoulders were all frozen. In the light and shadow of Hong Kong's urban development.

  Wandering in the Central Market, the 13 old stalls have been preserved, some of which are used to showcase the original architectural style.

The water storage tanks and drains of the old seafood stalls, the cutting boards and blood troughs of the poultry stalls, the shelves of the vegetable stalls, and the chopping boards of the meat stalls are all within easy reach. They have undoubtedly become an excellent gateway for Hong Kong citizens to experience the atmosphere of the old market.

  "I saw the historic red brick wall, the iron hook used to lift pigs, cattle, and sheep in the unloading area, the rice pound for weighing rice, and the slogans on the previous wall, "Please be careful when the ground is slippery." It seems that I have traveled through time and returned to the atmosphere of fireworks in the market. "Hong Kong citizen Mrs. Wang is an old customer of the Central Market.

She said that she still remembered the scene of buying vegetables with her mother.

Nowadays, after the reopening of the Central Market, she occasionally brings her little grandson to sit here and tell him the old stories.

 Rich historical value

  The Central Market has a long history, dating back to 1842.

At that time, the Chinese living in the Central area opened the Guangzhou market in Queen's Road to cater to the needs of the market from the rapidly growing population of Hong Kong Island.

Later, Guangzhou Market was renamed Zhonghuan Market.

With the continuous growth of Hong Kong's population, two reconstructions were carried out in the mid and late 19th century. By 1939, the fourth generation of the Central Market was completed, which is now the market building that has been revitalized.

  As the largest meat market in Southeast Asia at that time, the Central Market once attracted residents from all walks of life to buy their daily necessities, and this building also contains a wealth of collective memories of the "old Hong Kong".

  At noon, the gray-haired Mr. Chen and his wife were sitting and resting in the atrium of the market.

They told reporters that the Central Market has been out of service for many years, and it is hard to remember what it looked like before, but the strong human touch in the market is still fresh in the memory.

  "At that time, the ground in the market was relatively slippery and the light was not very good, but wherever you go, you can hear the stall owner shouting in the way of'singing'. There are both Cantonese dialects and Fujian dialects. Hawkers and neighborhoods are familiar with it. It’s very busy, and there’s a lot of people talking every day," Mr. Chen said.

  As the times change, some markets in Hong Kong have to face the fate of being demolished. Since 2005, the Central Market has also been classified as a demountable building.

After repeated consideration, the SAR government finally decided to entrust the Hong Kong Urban Renewal Authority to revitalize the Central Market, and the Hong Kong real estate developer Chinachem Group will operate and manage the Central Market.

  "Central Market has extremely important historical significance. It not only symbolizes the continuation of Guangdong market culture in Hong Kong, but also witnesses the development of Hong Kong's Central and Sheung Wan districts from the settlements of Chinese and Western coexistences to today's urban commercial districts." Said Mai Zhongjie, general manager (planning and design) of the Hong Kong Urban Renewal Authority.

Traditional time-honored brands settled in

  The revitalized Central Market has changed its previous impression of being messy and damp, and replaced it with a new market that integrates dining, shopping and exhibitions.

More than 70 gourmet restaurants, nostalgic shops, and cultural and youthful shops provide a place to relax and unwind for busy people.

  "We hope that the revitalized Central Market will not only meet the daily needs of the citizens, but also hope that it will be a place that showcases traditional culture and urban style." said Miao Rujing, Project Director of Chinachem Group's Central Market, in the process of renting shops , The group deliberately selected some traditional industries or "time-honored brands" to add cultural heritage to this historic building.

  Jinyuan Rice Industry, which has been rooted in Hong Kong for more than 70 years, rented two reserved stalls in the Central Market, uniquely exhibiting the characteristics of Hong Kong’s old rice shops in the 1950s and 1960s, ranging from matchboxes to bookkeeping books to rice Cylinder and cargo bike.

  Different from other stores, Jinyuan Rice's two small stores do not conduct commercial transactions, and are only for citizens to visit and "check in".

"These two shops not only allow the'old Hong Kong' to reminisce about the old market style and continue the human touch of the market; they also preserve the local rice culture of Hong Kong, allowing more young people to understand the history of local rice cultivation and the hardships and difficulties of their parents. "Golden Resources Rice International Co., Ltd. Chairman Lin Jiongchi said.

  In a gown shop called "Eighteen Twenty Two", the founder Chen Liqiao wore an apricot gown and paired with a pair of sneakers, combining tradition and fashion.

She said that even today, the unique Chinese traditional beauty of long gowns still glows with great charm.

Their group of long gown lovers hope to show the unique charm of gowns to the citizens in a building where the ancient and modern meet in the Central Market, promote traditional Chinese clothing, and make wearing long gowns a trend nowadays.

  Nowadays, in the Central Market, there are office workers who come to buy coffee, "Old Hong Kong" who come to feel the atmosphere of history, and tourists who "check in" standing in front of historical traces... This old building has also been revitalized and glowed. Greater vitality.