More Shophouses, Sham Shui Po
Inspired by the Sam Shui Po walk in Pete Spurrier’s new book, the missus and I thought we would go and have a wander around and see what there was. We didn’t really follow Pete’s recommended walk because we were too easily distracted by the street market, but we did find a whole bunch of shophouses that were new to me, including some that are featured in the book.
I haven’t really explored here at all, other than a brief sojourn back in 1995 when I went to see the rollercoaster at the top of the Dragon Centre (big disappointment, trust me), so it was nice just to wander around the old streets and try to spot some architectural gems, of which there are quite a few.
Most shophouses I see are fairly bog standard, nice to see simply because of their age, but other than their columns they can be quite bland and decrepit, but here in Sham Shui Po there are a few that stand out from the rest. The first one is a corner block which is crying out for some renovation.
Here is one with a nice handy date stamp at the top: 1933. It’s a pretty well-kept one too which may account for its long life. The care and attention the tenants/owners take of this place is quite evident, it’s one of the best condition (externally at least) examples of an old shophouse I have seen yet, if only other shophouse owners could do this.
Finally, next door to this one is the old pawnshop mentioned in Pete’s book. This is a huge example of of a pawnshop and is also kept in excellent condition. The front facade is impressive enough but this place also has some nice touches on the side with some stylish but discreet canopies and circular windows. Actually another of the striking things about this place is its height – 5 floors! These places rarely go above 3 floors, so to see one this large is quite special and reminds me very much of the large fortress-like pawnshop towers that can still be found in Macau. I have had to make this merged photo to fit everything on.
Anyway, just a reminder that Pete’s book can be ordered here and for those interested in seeing more shophouses can browse the group I have set up on FLICKR. It’s open to everyone so please feel free to join.