Historical building is 'floating' on a timber raft foundation
Currently the home of the Legislative Council, 8 Jackson Road, Central, housed the Supreme Court over seven decades.
The second world war interrupted that: the building was a Japanese military police headquarters between December 1941 and August 1945.
Though it has a well-preserved exterior, the foundation of the building consists of hundreds of Chinese fir tree trunks mixed with reclamation materials. The building is actually 'floating' on a timber raft, according to research prepared by the Legislative Council Secretariat.
In 1978 the building was vacated after cracks were found, caused by excavation works for the MTR. It was then closed for repairs until 1984 when the Executive Council declared the exterior of the building a monument, following the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration for the handover of Hong Kong.
The exterior was protected under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, but the interior was altered many times to increase the number of courts and ancillary rooms, and then before the Legislative Council moved there in 1985.
However, some the building's distinctive internal structures have not changed, although some remain unused. For example an entrance facing Statue Square, which was originally the prisoners' entrance, has not been used since the Legislative Council moved in. Internal staircases and an internal bridge, known as the 'Bridge of Sighs', was installed to connect the prisoners' receiving room and cells with courts on the first floor. It is a structure of which many, including present members of the Legislative Council and even senior barrister Sir John Swaine, were unaware.