The Antiquities Advisory Board has given a grade one historic building rating to a more than 100-year-old structure in Central.

The Board estimated that the building at 120 Wellington Street in Central was built between 1880 and 1894.

The former Wing Woo Grocery Shop on 120 Wellington Street. Photo: InmediaHK.

At a meeting on Thursday, the government’s Antiquities and Monuments Office said that it was not easy to preserve the building in its entirety, especially its wooden staircase and floor tiles which were common in the 1920s and 1930s, reported Ming Pao.

The Office also said there were records showing the building was likely constructed after a fire in Central in 1878, and was used as a shop in 1881. The shop’s sign also appeared in a photo taken in 1894.

The former Wing Woo Grocery Shop on 120 Wellington Street. Photo: InmediaHK.

But Ng Chi-wo, curator at the historical buildings section of the Office, noted at the meeting that it was difficult to judge whether the building was the only “back-to-side” style building left in Hong Kong.

The style refers to a floor plan for buildings in that period, in which they shared two walls with adjacent buildings, one on one side and one behind. The buildings which once adjoined the former grocery have been demolished.

Members of the board voted unanimously to rate it a grade one historic building.

It was recently saved from demolition by the Urban Renewal Authority, which initially only wanted to keep the outside wall, but changed its decision to keep the whole building. It will be renovated and will become a new shop.

The Wing Woo Grocery Shop before its closing in 2009. File

The building was formerly the Wing Woo Grocery Shop, which closed in 2009 as the owner wished to retire because of old age.

The public consultation over the rating will be conducted for a month.

Meanwhile, the Antiquities Advisory Board on Thursday declared three grade one historic buildings as monuments.

They are Tung Lin Kok Yuen in Happy Valley, built in 1935; the Kowloon Union Church in Yau Ma Tei, built in 1931; and Yeung Hau Temple in Tai O, probably built in 1699 or earlier.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.