Running down a long section of the Kowloon Peninsula, Shanghai Street (上海街) in Mongkok (旺角) features this cluster of ten pre-war tong-lau shophouses, which have been listed as Grade II buildings for their historical value. This is one of the few remaining examples of the typical Hong Kong (香港) architecture of the 1920s, with their first-floor verandahs (now enclosed) and arcaded fronts facing the street. The four taller buildings interspersed among the shop houses were built in the 1960s.
Such tong-lau shop houses were residential on their upper floors and commercial at street-level, with stores in this area selling Chinese and Western utensils, hardware, traditional Chinese wedding gowns, and even snake soup.
A major heritage preservation project by the Urban Renewal Authority has already started, which will see the entire block revitalised, with many of the original architectural elements preserved. However critics fear the loss of the area’s original character and the break-up of the community of some 170 residents, who will need to be re-housed.