Former ice factory
Where Hong Kong's first ice was made
Today, Windsor House is known as a great place to shop for electronics and digital gadgets, but few people know the building was once home to an icy-cold factory out-of-bounds to most people. In 1874, two Scotchmen sold two damp-air machines to Jardine, Matheson & Co., who established the Hongkong Ice Company and built an ice factory in East Point, Causeway Bay. Their ice was sold to cargo shippers or carted to the town depots to store frozen meat, seafood and dairy.
Ice House Street
The Ice Company went on to become Dairy Farm, one of the city’s main retailers. Their very first store was at their Central ice depot. The iconic red brick building is now home to the Fringe Club and FCC. By the time the ice factory at East Point opened in 1924, Dairy Farm was operating six retail stores in Hong Kong and was even able to deliver its frozen products to customers in Macau and coastal Chinese cities.
End of an era
By the early 1980s, the company’s dairy and frozen produce businesses were moved to China. Their old properties, such as the cowsheds and staff quarters at Pokfulam, are now small studio theatres at the campus of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. The town ice depots and the East Point Ice Factory were sold off as well.
My neighbour is a penguin
Joseph Ting, a well-known local historian and long-time resident of Causeway Bay recalls a curious story that would make a great Disney movie. “In the 1960s, a staff member of the ice factory kept a penguin as a pet. He even took him out for a daily walk on Great George Street around 4pm.”