Local landmark and keeper of collective memories
SYP's bridge boundary
You won't find this spot on the map, but ask any local what Sai Ying Pun's boundary is, and 'bird bridge' will be their likely answer. Technically, it is more of a ramp than a bridge, but in the old days, it was the path from the seashore—now Queen's Road West—to the Hong Kong Lock Hospital.
A 'lock hospital'—a clinic specialised in treating sexually transmitted diseases—was a common feature in British colonies. Where you'll now find the Sai Ying Pun Jockey Club Polyclinic, you'd find a lock hospital that opened in 1858. It was funded through taxes paid by brothels and prostitutes (HK$4 per establishment and HK$1.5 per person) and health checks for visiting seaman (HK$1.5 per health certificate). It was one of Hong Kong's first private hospitals and made a roaring trade in the busy seaport.
What’s in a name?
'Bird Bridge' is not the official name of this place. One local legend says there were many bird hawkers around the area in the 1930s; others say that the small hilltop forest once was a popular bird hotspot…