The Pipe Organ in China Project Website: Updates for October 2022

1 November 2022

The entry for HKG1919 has been revised, with additional information.

Photos of the Month: The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Hong Kong. This is the second building on the original site at Wellington and Pottinger Streets, Central. The first church, built in 1843, burned in 1859 and was replaced by the building seen in this old photo. In turn, a new cathedral (the present building) was built further up the hill on Caine Road between 1883 and 1888.

The old church was pulled down in December 1886, and the site today is occupied by commercial buildings and the Lok Hing Lane Sitting-Our Area. Entrance to the cathedral was by a flight of steps up from Wellington St, approximately on the site today of Welland House (62 Wellington St.) At present, 64-68 Wellington St. (the Yu Wing and Kai Wah buildings) have recently been demolished for new development. As always in Hong Kong, there has been absolutely no attempt made to survey the site archeologically (see second photo), or to make provisions for the discovery of relics and other historical artifacts.

Access to the former Cathedral site (third photo) is now from Pottinger St. via the western end of Lok Hing Lane, or from the Wellington St. (north) entrance of Wo On Lane (fourth photo). The retaining wall along the western side of the passage abutting 60 Wellington St. is possibly of the same date as the second church. Behind this building, at the level of Lok Hing Lane, is a curious, cement-covered fragment of an old brick wall, which may also be a relic of the church (fifth photo).

This was the church of Bishop Giovanni Timoleone Raimondi PIME (1827-94), Vicar Apostolic of Hong Kong, still remembered today by a Hong Kong school named in his honor, and various other Raimondi place names. The church had no organ that is known of, but a harmonium and an organist who, according to the Bishop, “plays only waltzes and polkas, because he says he has no [scores of] sacred music.” In 1878, Bishop Raimondi obtained a subscription to the Cecilianist journal, Musica Sacra, and asked for some appropriate organ music, and also “for some masses by our serious music composers.” Such was musical life on the China Coast in the 1870s.  

Recently, there was an interesting post on Facebook by the group, Hong Kong Heritages, about the cathedral.

The second Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Wellington St., Hong Kong, 1860s-70s.

Construction on Wellington St., October 2022, on the site of the former cathedral. Wall of Welland House (62 Wellington St.) on the left.

Wo On Lane (north entrance) and retaining wall, possibly related to the cathedral.

Lok Hing Sitting-Out Area (looking East), on the site of the crossing and altar area of the cathedral.

Fragment of a brick wall along Lok Hing Lane, possibly connected to the cathedral.

Organs in the Census: 199

This month’s hits: 1,080