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40th Anniversary, CUHK
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Victoria Peak - Literary Works

A Retreat of the Elite

Wiltshire, Trea (1991) Hong Kong – Last Prize of empire.
Hong Kong, FormAsia Books Ltd, pp. 52-54

Life at the top of Victoria's scenic Peak became an attractive and practical alternative with the opening in 1888 of the Park Tram. Though a heavy landslide nearly sent the tramway's first operators into liquidation, the funicular railway that ran between Garden Road and Victoria Gap – 397 meters above sea level – soon became one of Hong Kong's most famous landmark.

Since 1901, the Governor had maintained a spectacular summer lodge on the Peak's summit and the front seat of the tram was always reserved for him. On arrival at Victoria Gap, liveried sedan-chair bearers would carry him on the 15-minute journey to Mountain Lodge. In 1907 Lady Lugard, the Governor's wife, noted that "the air grew cooler every minute" as the sedans swayed along the narrow mountain road 10 the manicured lawns, tennis courts and the flower-filled gardens of her summer retreat.

The Peak Reservation Ordinance of 1904 restricted residence on the Peak to those approved by the Governor. So only the socially acceptable could live with a view of one of the world's most spectacular harbors stretched out before them, a view which today costs just the price of a ticket on the Peak Tram.


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