HKG/ Legacy of Plague II: “No.2 Caine Lane, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong”
A Laboratory for Public Health and Medical Work: The Pathological Institute
The plague continued to recur annually in Hong Kong for over 30 years since its first break out in 1984. The Government was frustrated by the lack of progress in eradication of the disease, and its devastating effect on the economy of Hong Kong since it was a major trading port. Therefore, the Governor Henry Blake appealed to the British Government to send a Bacteriologist to Hong Kong to help in plague control.
In 1902, The first Bacteriologist for Hong Kong, Dr William Hunter arrived. He was promised a Bacteriological Institute to do his scientific laboratory work. The laboratory was built in the Tai Ping Shan resumed area. It was built in fine Edwardian Style and opened in 1906. It was Hong Kong’s first purpose built laboratory for public health and medical work. It contained state of art facilities for scientific work in surveillance and control of infectious disease in pathological testing and in the production of vaccines. In another word, it functioned as a Centre for Health Protection for Hong Kong. It also has a name of Pathological Institute.
Former Old Pathological Institute, Today’s Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences (HKMMS)
It is because of the out break of Plague, the Bacteriological Institute established. In 1990, it was declared as a protected monument. A conservation project of transforming it into a museum was being pushed by a steering committee group from the Hong Kong College of Pathologists. Therefore, in 1996, the same building was reopened as the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences (HKMMS).
It is rare that there is a museum dedicated to medical heritage, including traditional Chinese as well as western medicine, yet open to the public. Hence, the museum is housed in a exceptionally attractive, as well as well-preserved heritage building. This building did not only play a role in the testimony of what our fore-fathers had gone through, but also to lay the foundation of how modernized Hong Kong today is. The architecture itself, also its function, does not only link to the past of Hong Kong, but also its unique medical history.
HKMMS is presented to the community of Hong Kong by the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences Society. It runs purely by private sponsorship and donations as there were no subsidies from the HKSAR Government at all. HKMMS not only runs the museum, but also designed “The Tai Ping Shan Medical Heritage Trial” that links up the interesting relics of attempts to provide medical services to the community, including Traditional Chinese and Western medicine, as well as attempts at improving sanitation and public health.
For more photos and information about HKMMS, please proceed to some more photograph documentation we made during our visit:
Or directly visit HKMMS home page: http://www.hkmms.org.hk/en/home/