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Hong Kong Club Building

The Hong Kong Club Building is a 25-story office building located in between Chater Road and Connaught Road Central at the junction of Jackson Road, in Central, Hong Kong, China. The Hong Kong Club Building is in its third generation, in its second location, it is owned by the Hong Kong Club, which occupies 8 levels, while the other floors are leased for office use. The Hong Kong Club Building, in its second incarnation, was one of the last examples of renaissance architecture remaining in Hong Kong; the building was completed in 1897, demolished in June 1981. It was replaced by the current modern building. Founded in 1846, the Club's first premises were located along Queen's Road, from the corner of Wyndham Street to the corner of D'Aguilar Street; the three-storey building was designed in a classic style. The cost of construction and furniture of £15,000 was raised through an issue of £100 shares. A chronicle article from 1847 said: "It is a handsome three-storey building and with the out offices covers nearly the third of an acre of ground..."The interior arrangements are elegant and reflect great credit on the architect for whose design for the building a premium was awarded....

The entrance hall and grand staircase in the centre supported on fluted columns with capitals in the Corinthian order has a noble effect..."In 1897, the club moved to more spacious accommodation next to the war memorial, on a sea-front plot of land created by the Central Praya reclamation. The existing building was sold to A. S. Watson & Company, who rented it out to the short-lived New club, a club for master mariners; the plot of the first generation Club Building is now occupied by the Entertainment Building. On 16 February 1895, the Club was granted a 999-year lease on the site under which it had few restrictions. Rent of $324 was paid annually to the Government; the club building was designed by Palmer & Turner, was completed in July 1897. The club held a referendum in around 1974, when the members voted to retain the building and not to redevelop. In 1977 and again in 1978, a demolition plan was rejected by members; the club committee became alarmist with arguments to redevelop, including the assertion in 1978 that the building was a fire safety hazard.

In 1981, architects who designed the building but who lodged an application to demolish it were quoted as saying that the existing building was old and would fall to pieces if leaned on heavily. A spokesman said it would "come down like a pack of cards". To update the club facilities, the members had opted to have the building renovated at a cost of HK$20 million. However, the parlous state of the club's finances tempted the club to explore options to redevelop the valuable site. In 1977, it was offered HK$200 million for the site by Wardley, part of the Hong Kong Bank. In around 1978, a campaign at all levels was mounted to save the 82-year-old building; the Heritage Society mounted a campaign to stop the demolition of the building. The building was declared a monument by the Antiquities Advisory Board late in 1980. A petition was sent to the Executive Council. On 16 September 1980, the Executive Council decided not to endorse the AAB's recommendation that the Club building be preserved as a monument, citing "unjustified cost to the community" – the cost to taxpayers would be HK$500 million.

The decision was denounced by conservationists as being influenced by "powerful vested interests" and against public opinion The Hong Kong Conservancy Association appealed to the Governor Murray MacLehose not to undervalue its cultural importance and not to allow the decision to be taken purely on economic grounds. "If the Government appears to value nothing but money, Hong Kong's youth cannot be expected to have higher standards," said Dr. L. K. Ding, HKCA chairman; the General Committee of the club was called to task by members, who contested its decision to sign a deal with developers knock down the building and redevelop the site before members had a chance to debate the issue. An EGM was convened to vote on the proposals on 20 October 1980, the chairman was forced to concede the Heads of Agreement would be subject to members' ratification. Members voted overwhelmingly to proceed with redevelopment. Hongkong Land was the appointed developer; the club occupied the 25th to 27th floors of World-Wide House during redevelopment.

The Victorian building was demolished in June 1981. The knocked-down building was replaced with a 21-storey building designed by Austrian-born Australian architect Harry Seidler, unveiled to the members in December 1980. Hongkong Land agreed to shoulder all demolition and rebuilding costs in exchange for the rental income of the upper storeys for 25 years. 80,000 square feet of the new building was to be occupied by the Club – the four podium floors in the new tower would be kept as dining rooms and bars for the members – while the 17 upper floors would be leased for normal office use. From 2009, the club took full ownership of the building and collect all revenues, estimated to be HK$100 million a year; the building is occupied by a wide range of companies and organisations including Commerzbank Hong Kong, which occupies the top two floors. Others include online broker Charles Schwab which have space on the ground floor, Libertas Capital Asia Limited on the ninth floor, the Institute of Financial Planners and Iyo Bank on the eighth floor and some law and accounting firms.

Central and Western Heritage Trail

Leonard Gaskin

Leonard Gaskin was an American jazz bassist born in New York City. Gaskin played on the early bebop scene at Monroe's in New York in the early 1940s. In 1944 he took over Oscar Pettiford's spot in Dizzy Gillespie's band, followed it with stints in bands led by Cootie Williams, Charlie Parker, Don Byas, Eddie South, Charlie Shavers, Erroll Garner. In the 1950s he played with Eddie Condon's Dixieland band, played with Ruby Braff, Bud Freeman, Rex Stewart, Cootie Williams, Billie Holiday, Stan Getz, J. J. Johnson, Miles Davis. In the 1960s he became a studio musician, playing on numerous pop records. In the 1970s and 1980s he returned to jazz, playing with Sy Oliver, Panama Francis, The International Art of Jazz. Leonard Gaskin became involved in educating young people in his life, he performed and shared his knowledge with elementary students with the Good Groove Band at Woodstock Elementary School in Woodstock, NY in 2003. Gaskin died on January 24, 2009. 1961 – Leonard Gaskin at the Jazz Band Ball, 1961 – Darktown Strutter's Ball, 1945 – Miles Davis: First Miles 1946 – Don Byas: 1946 1949 – J. J. Johnson / Kai Winding / Bennie Green: Trombone by Three 1949 – J. J. Johnson: J. J. Johnson's Jazz Quintets 1950 – Charlie Parker: Charlie Parker All Stars – Charlie Parker at Birdland and Cafe Society 1950 – Stan Getz: The Complete Roost Recordings 1951 – Illinois Jacquet: Jazz Moods 1953 – Miles Davis: Miles Davis with Horns 1955 – Billie Holiday: Lady Sings the Blues 1955 – Sonny Terry / Brownie McGhee: Back Country Blues 1956 – Jimmy Scott: If Only You Knew 1956 – Big Maybelle: Candy 1956 – Sammy Price: Rock 1957 – Bud Freeman: Chicago / Austin High School Jazz in HiFi 1957 – Eddie Condon: The Roaring Twenties 1958 – Ruby Braff: Easy Now 1958 – Rex Stewart: Rendezvous with Rex 1959 – Rex Stewart & Dicky Wells: Chatter Jazz 1959 – Marion Williams: O Holy Night 1960 – Lightnin' Hopkins: Last Night Blues 1960 – Arbee Stidham: Tired of Wandering 1960 – Sonny Terry: Sonny Is King 1960 – Al Smith: Midnight Special 1960 – Roosevelt Sykes: The Honeydripper 1960 – Sunnyland Slim: Slim's Shout 1960 – Lightnin' Hopkins: Lightnin' 1960 – Curtis Jones: Trouble Blues 1960 – Shakey Jake: Mouth Harp Blues 1960 – Mildred Anderson: No More in Life 1962 – Rhoda Scott: Hey!

Hey! Hey! 1963 – Willis Jackson: Grease'n' Gravy, The Good Life 1963 – Lightnin' Hopkins: Goin' Away 1963 – Red Holloway: The Burner 1963 – Jimmy Witherspoon: Blues Around the Clock 1963 – Bob Dylan: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan 1964 – Lightnin' Hopkins: Down Home Blues 1964 – Lightnin' Hopkins: Soul Blues 1964 – Sonny Stitt: Primitivo Soul 1965 – Illinois Jacquet: Spectrum 2001 – Richard Negri: Meditations on a Downbeat, Words Spoken through Jazz Leonard Gaskin at Allmusic ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’Reminiscences Allegro at Local 802