春園街:沒有灣仔的春園年代

遙遠的開埠初期,屬於香港的神話時代。那時,港島割讓給英國政府,而四環之一的下環,面向清屬九龍半島,然而佈防卻極之簡陋,與中環強兵林立、軍營處處大相徑庭。早於一八四一年,英國寶順洋行投得下環地段,由商人顛地主領管理事務,將下環命名為春園,數年之間,將古名下環、今稱灣仔的地帶變成歐陸之都。時至今日,灣仔區內完全找不到古城痕跡,只可以通過文字遙想昔日風華。

一九二五年.灣仔的春園街近交加街交界

昔日春園,東起灣仔道,西至大王東街,南面與大道東接壤。由於年代過早,當年攝影師的對象,多數是中上環的沿岸建築。而碩果僅存的記錄裡面,只有一張石版畫,圖中的兩層建築,曾是港督府暫居之處,而海旁多有洋婦散步,其中竟有攜犬散步者,而華人苦力於碼頭搬運貨物,洋尊華卑,相映成趣。

傳說中的春園,外界綴以圍欄,今日已蕩然無存。然而,即使明線消失,暗界猶在,現時的街道名稱,亦反映春園昔日規劃。春園街,即寶順洋行大班顛地的邸宅;三板街,傳說即是顛地閒時泛舟遊玩之處,故該處呈現三角形,略可窺探其地勢。當時,寶順洋行往來中國貨物,多運至太原、廈門兩處,故特闢太原街及廈門街,藉以寄存貨物,故春園面積雖小,內部結構卻極之講究。然而,顛地未幾罹患惡疾,最終病逝英國。由於寶順洋行生意慘談,顛地臨行時將餘產變賣,導致一度成為神話的春園,淪為三教九流之所。

顛地撤出之後,春園之名消失,碩果僅存的春園街,卻以大冧把取而代之。「大冧把」原指唐樓地面的門牌號碼,由於該處淪為妓寨,「大冧把」成為尋花問柳的標識。隨著一九三五年政府嚴令禁娼,期間春園街仍有私寨,卻被警方多次踢竇,最終蕩然不存。取而代之的,卻是毒品販賣、盜賊猖獗,間中亦有自殺、他殺兇案,促使春園街成為棘手的燙山芋。

一九一五年.灣仔春園街,圖中「大冧巴」代表妓院,這並非妓寨有意為之,卻成了方便嫖客尋蹤的關鍵。

戰後初期,風波漸息,該處變得熱鬧起來。隨著修頓球場啟用,又鄰近香港大舞台,每逢晚上時份,多處立刻攻打四方城,麻雀撞擊的聲音不絕於耳。此外,街上設有各色攤檔,其中以租借小說最受歡迎,幾個兒童坐在小櫈,分享同一本漫畫,看得津津有味,而看檔的彪型大漢,則顯得大材小用。由於攤檔眾多,沒有發市的小販大有人在,為了餬口,也不得不每晚長駐,成為城市中的有趣風貌。

春園由歐陸都市,頓變流鶯妓寨,再變為尋常百姓家,期間翻天覆地的變化,不載於史傳,鮮見於照片,未知通過上述文字,可有刺激起你的聯翩想像呢?

二十年代中期.灣仔春園街,圖中行人眾多,反映黃色事業仍然昌盛。

 

原文亦刊於立場新聞

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