The Old Tai Po Police Station was erected at Tai Po in 1899. It was located on a knoll adjacent to Pun Chung Village, from where the entire Tai Po area could be overlooked.
It was described in the Report of the Director of Public Works for 1899 as “a large permanent Police Station containing 12 rooms besides kitchen and out-offices, with accommodation for 5 Europeans, and 32 Indians or Chinese Constables.” According to the Report on the New Territories, 1899-1912, the total number of police in New Territories was 148 - 32 Europeans, 89 Indians and 27 Chinese distributed among 13 stations. So in 1899, around one-quarter of the NT force was stationed in Tai Po.
The Site mainly comprises of three buildings: Main Building, Canteen Block and Staff Quarters. The three buildings are arranged around an open lawn. The functional arrangement of the Old Tai Po Police Station reflects the general layout of a Police Station at that time. A charge room is located near the public entrance. Cells are located next to the internal courtyard where they are more secure. Sleeping quarters are found within the site.
Being the first permanent building erected by the Colonial Government in the area serving as the Police Headquarters of the entire New Territories, it is possible that staff quarters were also provided here for Mr. Edwin Richard Hallifax, Police Magistrate and Assistant Superintendent of Police of the New Territories. Residential units with a living room, dining room, bedroom, and lavatory were located here.
A hierarchy can be seen at the site, with the eastern part of the Main Building built on an elevated platform which makes it higher than the rest of the structures. Such design implies that the function of this part of the building was of greater importance than the others, and probably housed the most senior officer. In contrast, the Staff Quarters were built along the slope at a lower level than the Main Building.
Old Tai Po Police Station was built with features of the Colonial period, namely verandah and louvre windows which catered for the hot and humid climate in Hong Kong. The Chinese-style pan and roll tiles supported on timber battens and purlins also showed the choice of local construction methods.
The design of the Old Tai Po Police Station reflected a utilitarian approach, which adopted a rather irregular form for the Main Building. The significance of the Main Building is evidenced by apparently more decorative detailing in the western-styled architectural features, such as the Dutch gables, windows with voussoir-shaped mouldings and aprons, ornamented fireplaces, chimneys with moulding and cast iron downpipes with hopper-head.
The Green Hub engaged the Centre for Architectural Heritage Research of the Chinese University of Hong Kong as heritage conservation consultant to ensure that the architectural features of the buildings are well preserved and presented in our heritage education programmes.