A heritage flight of steps and three historic gas lamps on Duddell Street in Central were damaged after Super Typhoon Mangkhut ripped through Hong Kong on Sunday.

The Duddell Street steps were home to the last four gas lights in the city. The steps were built between 1875 and 1889 and the gas lamps were situated at the top and foot of the steps. The items were a declared monument.

The police said it received a report at 7:10pm that a tree had fallen down at the street and caused damage. Firefighters arrived and confirmed that three gas lamps were damaged and there was some gas leaking.

The Hong Kong and China Gas Company said they were damaged as the lamposts broke. A lampshade on the fourth lamp was also damaged.

Photo: Timothy McLaughlin.

It added that staff members had switched off the gas and the leak was stopped.

The exact year in which the granite steps were constructed is unknown, but a series of maps of Hong Kong from the period indicate that they came into existence between 1875 and 1889. Since 1967, they were the only surviving working gas street lamps in Hong Kong, according to the records of the Hong Kong and China Gas Company.

The lamps were two-light Rochester models made by Suggs and Co., designed in a shorter length than what was standard at the time in order to allow them to be mounted on the parapets of the steps. They were lit automatically, though originally had to be lit manually.

Duddell Street steps and gas lamps. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/KobeCarter/cc-by-sa 3.0.

Dr Lee Ho-yin, a former member of the Antiquities Advisory Board, told Apple Daily that unless there is no chance of repairs after a natural disaster, the declared monument status would not be affected.

He said that normally the government would examine the damage, check records, and discuss ways to repair the monuments with conservationists, surveyors, engineers and architects.

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.