Tai Hom Village

 

Tai Hom Village was established in 1800 by Zhu Ren-feng (1771-1843) who was engaged in quarrying and construction business. The early development of the village is slow as there were only about 50 people living in the village a hundred years after the establishment. Most of them were engaged in farming. Quarrying became the major occupation of the villagers when Diamond Hill quarry went into operation. However, the original villagers scattered after the Japanese Occupation and Tai Hom Village became a squatter area afterwards. In 1992, the Administration started land resumption in Tai Hom Village, and the clearance process completed in 2001.

In March 2008, the Administration decided to kick start the work of Shatin-Central Link. The plan is to construct a depot at the former Tai Hom Village site, while development above the site is yet to be decided. The site will still be zoned as Comprehensive Development Area (CDA), but with a set of “development parameters” guiding its future use.

 
Stone house at 4 Tai Koon Yuen
 
Three gems in Tai Hom Village
 

At the height of the clearance works in 2001, Wong Tai Sin District Council requested the preservation of three historical structures, namely, a stone house at 4 Tai Koon Yuen (Graded III historical building), the former Royal Air Force (RAF) hangar (Graded III historical building) and the old pillbox (Graded II historical building).

Established in 1947 and naming after the mansion in the classic Chinese Novel Hong Lau Meng, Tai Koon Yuen was once a farm. There were many famous film studios near Tai Hom Village in 1940s and 1950s, including Dai Guan Film Production Factory (which was later became the Diamond Film Production Factory), as well as Jian Cheng Film Production Factory. Due to its good environment and proximity to these studios, Tai Koon Yuen became the home to many working in the film industry. The stone house at 4 Tai Koon Yuen was owned by Wu Junzhao, the Ex-manager of the former Shanghai Bank of Communications, and was rented to the actor Qiao Hong between the 1950s and 1960s. The house at 5 Tai Koon Yuen, now demolished, was once the accommodation of Li Hanxiang, a famous film director. The stone house reflects the two industries in Diamond Hill: the historical value of the stone house is not just closely linked to Hong Kong film industry, but also the quarrying industry as the stone house was built with the granite excavated in the Diamond Hill quarry.

The RAF hangar was constructed in Kai Tak in 1934, but was dismantled in 1940 due to the construction of the new runway. During 1941-1945, the hangar was re-erected on-site by the Japanese Air Force to house mainly Zero-Sen fighters. The hangar was designed to be taken down quickly and reassembled. It is the only surviving pre-war military aircraft hangar in Hong Kong. It served for various functions such as village industries and godown storage after it had been vacated by RAF in the 1970s. The old pillbox nearby was constructed by the Japanese Air Force during the Japanese occupation and was used as a shelter for the aircrew and technicians.

 
The RAF hangar
 
The old pillbox
 
Creative Movie Park
 

While Hong Kong is often hailed as the Hollywood of the East, the former Tai Hom Village site is indeed the earliest dream factory of film industry in Hong Kong. Many film studios, such as Jian Cheng Film Production Factory and Dai Guan Film Production Factory, were set up in the site. Various famous movies and TV dramas were produced there, such as The Chronicle of Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre by TVB in the early days. Therefore, we would like to propose to build a creative movie park so as to revive Tai Hom Village as the dream factory and the place for promoting the Hong Kong film industry.

We also propose to turn the adjacent water catchment area into a living water garden and to connect it with the revitalized Kai Tak River. It will create a “cultural oasis” which integrates elements of heritage preservation, nature conservation and community revitalization.