Located on a small enclosed area near Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island, the Noon Day Gun is a former piece of artillery owned and operated by Jardine Matheson. Exactly at noon time one of the employees of Jardine Matheson operates the gun and fires the gun once. Afterwards he rings the nearby bell eight times to indicate the end of the morning shift. The only other occasion when the Noon Day Gun is fired, is at midnight on New Year’s Day to celebrate the New Year.
The tradition and history of the Noon Day gun is little vague and mysterious. It is said that the tradition originated in the 1860s where one of Jardine’s employee would fire a gun salute every time when the head of the company was arriving by sea in the port of Hong Kong. One of the British Senior Royal Navy officers who was new to Hong Kong and never heard of this kind of tradition got offended. Usually, gun salutes were reserved for high-ranked government officials such as the Queen or senior officers of the armed services and were not meant for businessmen. To shorten a long story and not getting into details about the dispute: the result of this dispute was that the company got penalized and had to fire the gun noon every day as time signal. If the story is real or just a modern myth is hard to tell, but a more likely explanation for using the gun in the first place was that ships anchoring in the harbor could adjust their clocks onboard – so they could calculate and adjust the longitude while traveling and was a common practice in many harbors back in the days.
A note for all music lovers out there: The Noon Day Gun was famously mentioned in the song “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” by Noel Coward – so try to check it out.
How to Get to Noon Day Gun:
Take the MTR to Causeway Bay and exit through Exit D1. Walk along Lockhart Road into Cannon Road. Then turn right into Jaffe Road and walk towards the World Trade Center. In order to get to the Noon Day Gun you need to cross Gloucester Road and the only way to do so is to pass through a tunnel beneath the World Trade Center. The entrance of the tunnel is a little bit difficult to find (close to the Excelsior hotel) and will lead you through some basement car park. Take the tunnel and you arrive at the Noon Day Gun when exiting it.
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