Early records about Tai Po can be traced back to the Tong Dynasty. At that time, Tai Po was famous for pearl fishing. In the Sung Dynasty, due to invasion of the northern tribes, residents of south China moved south and resided in Tai Po. In the Ming Dynasty, a temple was constructed at Tai Po Tau Village in honour of Tang Si-ma. The Tai Po old market was gradually established for trading of agricultural and fishing products.
In 1893, commercial activities continued to flourish and a new market was established at the north-eastern bank (Tai Wo) of Lam Tsuen River by a federation (Tsat Yeuk) of seven groups of villagers from some sixty-four villages. The organization brought an alliance between the Hakka and Punti people living in the area. The land was donated by Tai Hang Village and each group or yeuk was permitted to build shops. The first shops were built on both sides of the Man Mo Temple along Fu Shin Street and sets of public weighing scales were introduced and kept, as they are now, in the temple. A bridge (the present Kwong Fuk Bridge) was built across the Kwun Yam (Lam Tsuen) River by the Tsat Yeuk.
Since then, Tai Po became one of the famous market towns for retailing and wholesaling of market products in the northern New Territories. The construction of the Kowloon Canton Railway (KCR) in 1906 and its completion in 1910 with a station serving Tai Po market made it an important market centre for the New Territories. The present building at Wan Tau Kok Lane, currently occupied by the police, was previously constructed in 1907 and used by the District Office to administer the whole of mainland New Territories.
Kwong Fuk Bridge linking
Tai Wo with Tai Po old market
It was not until 1960s that major expansion occurred. At that time, the land between Tai Po Market and the former District Office was developed in accordance with a plan prepared by the then Town Planning Office of the Public Works Department, the new development being known as the Tai Po Central Area.
In October 1972, the then Governor-in-Council approved a major housing programme with the aim of providing adequate housing for 1.8 million people by the mid-1980s. More than half of this housing development was to be provided in the New Towns of Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan and Tuen
Mun. Limited development was envisaged for Tai Po and other traditional market towns and rural townships. At that time, public housing to be provided in Tai Po was expected to accommodate about 33,000 people.
In 1974, a decision was taken that Tai Po should be the site of the first industrial estate in Hong Kong. Reclamation for the Tai Po Industrial Estate began in 1976. At the same time, work began on the reclamation for the first public housing estate, Tai Yuen Estate adjacent to Ting Kok Road. A large temporary housing estate was constructed in 1977 at Yue Kok to accommodate people displaced by clearance for development in Tai Po District. Residents of the Yuen Chau Tsai squatter area near Island House were its first occupants.
Existing Developments at Tai Po
As a result of a major revision in the public housing
programme, the proposed public housing content of Tai Po was increased to 90,000 out of a total population target of 220,000. The status of Tai Po was upgraded to that of a New Town in January 1979. The draft Tai Po Outline Zoning Plan No.
LTP/47 was gazetted on 12.12.1980. By mid-1990, some 300 ha of land were reclaimed from the sea for the development of a largely self-contained community in which a full range of commercial, industrial and community facilities will be provided for about 300,000 people.