PMQ, an abbreviation of “Police Married Quarters”, serves as a new platform for creative industry today despite its prolonged history of its purpose as a school and police married quarters. Its establishment dates back to as early as 1862, not long after the British colonization of Hong Kong, when the Central Government School was built to provide western education to the public (PMQ 元創方, 2019).
After being renamed “Queen’s College” it became known for nurturing elite students including Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Nevertheless, it was demolished during the Japanese occupation in 1941. Shortly after the demolition, the police married quarters was constructed in 1951 to attract police recruits in response to the influx of Chinese immigrants after the Chinese Civil War (PMQ 元創方, 2019). However, the building, in which former Chief executives C.Y. Leung and Donald Tsang have lived, was vacated in 2000 and no longer served a purpose (“Consultancy for Heritage Impact Assessment,” 2011). Later on, the government decided to revitalize the heritage site under the project name ‘Conserving Central’.
To promote the historic background of the PMQ, an underground tunnel allows visitors to go through the foundation of the former Victoria College. In response to the public’s suggestions, the government decided to revitalize its uniqueness by promoting creative industries onsite while also conserving its heritage and providing public space. By reassembling glimpses of history derived from granite residues of the central school and transforming police officer rooms units into creative lifestyle spaces, the PMQ clearly demonstrates an intersection between the past and the present. The cultural memory that PMQ encapsulates, emphasizes the role in the construction of identities that have been stored, transferred, and reincorporated throughout generations. The elite figures that represent the current identity of Hong Kong, have all once belonged to the historical site of PMQ, which can indeed be considered a lieu de mémoire.