The first plot of land ever auctioned in Hong Kong
It was Captain William Morgan - in the name of Jardine Matheson & Co. - who won the bid for plot #1 at Hong Kong’s very first land auction in 1841. The site ‘East Point Hill’ was sold for the then hefty sum of £565. Plot No. 1 was used to build warehouses and go-downs, essential in facilitating its transpacific shipping trade. They were used for over a century until the area was reclaimed in the 1960s.
The old East Point warehouses were demolished to build Excelsior Hotel and the Palace Theatre. The latter was the city’s social hotspot and the most luxurious nightclub back then. In the 1970s the nightclub was converted into a movie theatre which kept the old name. The Palace Theatre opened to business on November 14, 1979, screening the blockbuster ‘Alien’. Local movie-goers rated the theatre as ‘the most luxurious cinema in Hong Kong in the 1980s’! The Palace Theatre became the design prototype for multiplex cinemas in the 1990s, but it was in business for 15 years only. It was closed and replaced by the World Trade Centre in 1994.
Somewhere a record is set
The 1980 Hollywood film ‘Somewhere in Time’ starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour was shown for a record period of 223 days at Palace Theatre. It also set a record in earnings, more than $9.38 million.