Going Home: The Baglin – Shelley photographs

Mother & Daughter (2)

Back in 2014 I posted the photo shown above, and wrote:

“I bought a collection of photos recently, hoping they'd have lots of views of Hong Kong. Instead they're almost all photos of people, that really belong in a family album. I'd rather see them back with the family, so I'm hoping one of Gwulo's readers can help put them in touch.”

The post generated a lot of interest on Gwulo and Facebook, and we identified the mother and daughter as Ms Baglin and her daughter Marie. Readers remembered Marie was also known as Vickie and that she married Tony Shelley, a Hong Kong policeman.

Several people said they knew the family and would get in touch, but I never heard back. I guessed that, for their own reasons, Marie’s children didn’t want to make contact. Still, I hoped another relative would be searching the internet for family information, find the page and get in touch.

That’s where we left the story, til a few weeks ago when an email arrived from Jean Louis Lecoeur in France. He included this photo:

Senora Baglin and her daughters

It was an exact match for one I’d posted in the original article!

Baglin-Dubois family

Over to Jean Louis:

1919-20: Photos from Warren Swire's third visit to Hong Kong

Warren Swire’s third visit was delayed by the First World War. He had joined a territorial army unit in 1907 (the Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars), and so was mobilized with them in 1914. He served in Egypt until 1916, then returned to the UK to work in control of shipping, a fitting use for his skills [1]. By 1919 he’d returned to the commercial world, and was back in Hong Kong to check on the company’s operations.

Before we look at his photos, what was the company’s place in Hong Kong at that time? The 1920 Juror’s list gives us an idea of its significance: of the 1,546 jurors listed, 132 or roughly 1 in 12 worked for either Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering (TD&E) or the Taikoo Sugar Refinery (TSR).


Taikoo Sugar Refinery

We’ve seen the Dockyard in photos from his earlier visits, but this time he also took photos of the Sugar Refinery. The first photo is titled “H.K. TSR Village”, and shows some of the workers’ housing. 


Taikoo Sugar Refinery Village


You can see the tram tracks running along King’s Road at the left. If you look closely, you’ll see that Quarry Bay only had a single track service at this time. Just where the tram lines disappear from view there’s a junction and road running off to the left. That is Mount Parker Road.

He also took photos of the Sugar Refinery’s recreation club, and the houses for its European staff:


Taikoo Sugar Refinery Recreation Club


Taikoo Sugar Refinery Foreign Houses


A look down the list of Taikoo Sugar Refinery men on the jurors’ list gives an idea of who lived there. It includes

c.1908 Pedder Street

c.1908 Pedder Street


Where: The lamps on the building show the word "Hotel".

Hotel lamp

They light up the Hong Kong Hotel [1], so we're looking north along Pedder Street from near the junction with Queen's Road. The curved building in the distance was the Hotel Mansions building, later called the Union Building [2]. At this time it housed an extension of the Hong Kong Hotel.


Who: It's a fascinating scene, with so many people coming and going. A few caught my eye...

Old HK in Taipei

I spent last weekend in Taipei, and before I went I asked in the Forum for any recommendations of Gwulo-y places to visit. Thomas replied suggesting Fort San Domingo in Tamsui. It's easy to get to from Taipei, so that's where we went.

We picked up this map from the information office near Tamsui station. A Hong Kong name caught my eye - can you spot it?

Tamsui map #1

A wander through Happy Valley's history

On Monday morning I met Phil at Times Square, then off we set to see what we could find. We were heading for Fung Fai Terraces as an appetiser, to look at the old buildings there.

We followed Wong Nai Chung Road along the west side of the racecourse - the side where all the cemeteries are. The road was widened when the Aberdeen Tunnel flyover was built in the 1970s, pushing back the cemeteries' walls. This gateway at St. Michael's cemetery looks as though it pre-dated the move, and was successfully dismantled then rebuilt afterwards:


St. Michael's Cemetery


Here's a sleepy view of this area from the 1920s:


c.1925 Happy Valley


When we reached the Sanatorium, we followed the road round to the right, till we came to Village Road. On the right-hand side of the road is a big old retaining wall, with a gap in the middle and stairs leading up either side. Here's a view from the mid-1920s, showing the wall and stairs (the photo shows it from the opposite direction, so here the walls and stairs are on the left of the road):


Fung Fai Terrace


Above the wall are the Fung Fai Terraces, built on two levels. The buildings on the lower level are all complete in this photo. Behind them you can see another retaining wall and stairs, with the upper terrace formed, but nothing built yet. 

The buildings on the lower terrace were completed first, but also re-developed first. Today only #2 remains from the original lower terrace buildings, just one half of one building. Several old buildings are still standing on the upper terrace though, so that's where we went.

From Village Road we climbed the


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