Following a full year of painstaking restoration work, an historic century-old pier on the Thon Buri side of the Chao Phraya River is evoking its original glory as a heritage attraction in the new mixed-use project named Lhong 1919 that officially launches this evening. It will be open to the public from tomorrow (November 3).
The Wanglee family, which owns the property and lives in the mansion next door, has put considerable efforts into bringing the pier back to life and Lhong 1919 features the renovated Mazu shrine (known to Thais as Chao Mae Tubtim), arts-and-crafts shops, a co-working space, restaurants and cafes. The site will also have an event hall, a multipurpose outdoor space and a riverside leisure area.
Restoration experts and construction workers had been toiling for a year on the six-rai site where three buildings form a semicircle fronting onto the river. The area in the same soi as Wat Thong Thammachart was previously known as Huo Chuan Laung (Steamer Pier) and was a trading hub for Chinese merchants, going as far back as the reign of King Rama IV.
Phraya Phisansuppaphol built the Huo Chuan Laung in 1850, giving Chinese merchants a place to dock their steamboats. The adjoining two-storey buildings housed shops and offices and served as warehouses for imported goods.
The contractors have taken care to preserve as much as the original and natural beauty of historical site as possible by using similar method and materials. Neither exterior nor interior walls have been painted. Where the brick construction bore cracks, these were simply filled with traditional sealing caulks to prevent further damage.
Teakwood fittings have been repaired as needed with wood from other sections of the buildings. Authenticity extends to the decision to let fungus and moss stay where they were on the exterior walls.
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the minister of Tourism and Sport, will open Lhong 1919 this evening at 7pm. Music performances by children from the TV programme “We Kid Thailand” as well as Vie Trio and Gam The Star will entertain guests. A fashion show of Wee’s fall/winter collection will conclude the event.
Lhong 1919 is on Soi Wat Thong Thammachart off Chiang Mai Road, opposite Thonburi Polytechnic College.
Find out more at (091) 187 1919 and the “Lhong 1919” page on Facebook.