Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Cattle Depot Artists Village, Ma Tau Kok

I spent some time this week wandering around the Cattle Depot Artists Village. Although being used as a sort of artist collective since 2001 it only received a Grade 2 listing in 2009. The site, originally built as an abattoir, was constructed circa 1908 to replace the Hung Hom slaughter house that was demolished to make way for the newly built KCR railtrack.

It operated as an abattoir until around 1969 when slaughtering duties were transferred to a new site in Cheung Sha Wan and the site was kept as a quarantine depot for various livestock including cattle, pigs and sheep. It remained in use until 1999 and anyone who was in Hong Kong in the 1990s may remember the livestock trains that used to roll down the East Rail (then KCR) rail line. I can always remember my first experience standing on the platform at Tai Po and saw everyone take a step or two back from the edge. I had no idea what was going on until the train rolled by and I was hit in the face with the smell of the pigs in the back.

In 1999 the Sheung Shui abattoir facility was opened and the Cattle Depot went about a renovation to turn it into the quiet little artists' retreat that it remains to this day.

Inside the main entrance
This main area (above) appears to have been one of the man holding areas and still has the troughs along the floor for water/feed.

Main entrance block

Immediately behind the Cattle Depot Artists Village is an area of open land that was once used as part of the abattoir but had since fallen into disrepair. It still contains some older brick buildings that have been fenced off until something can be figured out for their preservation/demolition but the rest of the area has been turned into a rather pleasant little park. Many of the old feeding troughs have been retained in-situ.

One of the older stone buildings

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