Everyone knows Pottinger Street, the most perilous street in Hong Kong for delicate footwear. The stony steps have tripped people for decades — all the way back to the 1800s when Queen’s Road Central was actually on the water’s edge.
If you’ve ever been bar-hopping around Central or shopped for a Rugby 7s costume (and who hasn’t?), then you’re probably already pretty familiar with these stony slab steps, which were named after Henry Pottinger, Hong Kong’s first governor, from 1843-1844.
These days Pottinger Street is best known for its colorful hawker stalls selling all kinds of costumes and haberdashery — a melting pot of east-meets-west culture — but back in the 19th century it was more of a boundary between the residential neighborhoods of Chinese and Europeans, with locals in the west and westerners to the east.
And the street’s history is not just what’s on the surface either: underneath the stone steps used to lie several underground toilets (now closed off) as well as an air-raid tunnel that was built as a precaution during World War II and later filled up.