Upon the Plinth of a Barren Rock

I S B N:

In less than two centuries, Hong Kong has developed from an insignificant fishing port into a modern metropolitan city. She owes her transformation to the competent and dedicated professionals in different areas in Hong Kong over the past years.
This book depicts the development of the engineering profession and the institutions representing Hong Kong’s engineers from 1842 to 1975. The evolution of local engineering institutions reflects a significant aspect of Hong Kong’s social development. The book traces the history of each engineering body up to the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, and takes the reader through many phases of the city’s development. In the background of all this is the interaction between the institutions and the society at different periods at large.
By telling the stories of these engineering bodies, we wish to pay tribute to their members who have not only made meaningful contribution to their own profession but have also left indelible marks on Hong Kong’s path to prosperity.

1. Odyssey to the East: Western Engineers in Early Hong Kong 13
An Isle on the Coast of Southern China 14
A Brave New World for Western Engineers 17
Military and Civil Infrastructures in the New Colony 21
British Engineering Institutions and Engineers in Hong Kong 27

2. An Association of Friendship: The Pre-war Hong Kong Engineers’ Institute 33
Some Important Figures 35
For the Interests of the Profession 39
A Professional Body for Shipbuilders 45
Development and Changing of Premises 56
Political and Military Ties 61
Growing Activities 68
Financial Strain and Closure 70

3. Building Professional Strength: The Post-War Engineering Society of Hong Kong 77
Stanley Internee Engineering Corporation Limited 78
A New Society with a Changed Focus 80
Spreading out and Forming Ties 84
Engineers with a Dedication 91
The Link with Britain 99

4. Engineering Education in Hong Kong 107
Promoting Knowledge and Training 108
Sharing Knowledge and Expertise 109
Long-term Commitment to Education 117
Training Programmes for Engineers and Technicians 129
Reforms in Assessment and Training 132
Expansion of Tertiary Education 133

5. 130 Years of Engineering Ventures 137
Achievements in a Century 138
A Wide Range of Military Constructions 141
1 Early Military Works 141
2 Defense Works Covering the WWII Period 165
3 Diminishing of Military Facilities after the War 184
Public Works of a Century 192
1 Early Roads and Piers 192
2 Public Works Constructed up to WWII 200
3 Steady Development after the War 228

6. Continuing the Heritage 255
Capturing the World’s Attention 258
Steering Ahead of Community Needs 260
Achieving Statutory Status 265

1 Executive Committee Members
of the Hongkong Engineers’ Institute (1882-1883) 270
2 Executive Committee Members
of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders (1891-1941) 271
3 Executive Committee and Council Members
of the Engineering Society of Hong Kong (1947-1975) 285
4 Document on War-time Manpower Distribution in the Public Works Department
(Public Records Office of Hong Kong, Reference Number: HKRS308-9-1) 292
5 Balls and Concerts 298
6 Billiard Tournaments 301


篳路藍縷以啟山林 ──香港工程發展130年
篳路藍縷以啟山林 ──香港工程發展130年
Old Hong Kong in Colour
Old Hong Kong in Colour
Otto C.C. LamIntroduction : Peter Cunich

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