Revitalized Central Market displays miniature models of Hong Kong life

Most of us remember something about Central Market, down the slope from Raimondi College.           

The large, squarish building was just a short distance from the central bus terminus back in the 1950s and ’60s. We would have passed by the market most days during the week if we had to take the bus to school.

Queen Victoria Street, with Central Market on the right.
Photo: Kenneth Tom commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 2.5 <;, via Wikimedia Commons.

The live market with the noisy stalls left a lasting impression on anyone who ventured inside, although it was not always an appealing one.

Eddie Chiu 趙善普 had long associated the place with mayhem. “It used to smell terrible of chicken pooh in the old days,” he said. He also can’t forget the “fishy smell, dirty wet floors.”

It is hard to describe the routine goings-on inside the market without being graphic.

“Should we mention how they stripped the frog skin, drain the blood of the chickens through the cut of the neck?”

Eddie has also always wondered why the butchers wore wooden clogs with thick soles.

“All very eye opening for a youngster,” he said.

“It wasn’t a beautiful scene, but that was the fact of life in the ’50s.”

The market ceased operations in 2003.

The market ceased operations in 2003. Picture shows the building in February 2015.
Photo: Wishds, CC BY-SA 4.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

Revitalization plans were announced in 2009 but it took plenty of time to become reality. The transformation finally happened in 2021.

Eddie discovered on a casual, Sunday-morning stroll that Central Market was not the place of blood and gore that he used to remember anymore.

The building is now a sleek, multi-purpose community hub – a modern “Playground for All” right in Central.

Banner at the Miniature Exhibition in the modernized Central Market.

The day he was there, Eddie and his wife Connie joined other spectators in viewing a Miniature Exhibition of models of buildings, street scenes, and various aspects of daily life in Hong Kong. Admission was free for the event held from June to July, 2022.

A miniature model with billboard promoting the Miniature Exhibit.

“Very interesting with all the HK oldies shops and buildings,” Eddie said.

Eddie’s wife Connie at one of the miniature models at the exhibit.

“The craftsmen did a fine, meticulous job on all the details. Salute to their efforts!”

Miniature showing the Mid-Autumn Festival dragon dance/parade in Tai Hang.

Scene in front of shuttered tea house.
Models of roadside food stalls.
Food hawkers’ push carts.
Miniature of Bun Festival in Cheung Chau.


Photos of miniature exhibits: Eddie Chiu

Past photos of Central Market: Wikimedia Commons