Belonging to the city: Representations of a colonial clock tower in British Hong Kong

Catherine S. CHAN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study interprets the transformation of a European clock tower that was built in British Hong Kong. By examining its purpose and life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, I focus on the voices that spoke for the clock tower in times of crisis and change. Through a combination of government documents, newspaper articles, editorial letters, historical narratives, travel guides, and photographs, this study aims to show the transitions of the clock tower in line with the development of local identity in Hong Kong during the colonial era. It highlights the shift in colonial society from a racially segregated city to a cosmopolitan city shared, to a certain extent, by urban elites, foreign settlers, and local Chinese residents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-332
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number2
Early online date19 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Clock tower
  • Colonial heritage
  • Decolonalization
  • Hong Kong
  • Identity construction


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