Please help - looking for old photos of the Central Police Station compound

I’m looking for old images (photos, sketches, paintings, newspaper engravings, etc) that can bring to life the history of the Central Police Station (CPS) compound, its surroundings, and the people who were there - whether voluntarily or not!

1890s Indian & European police at CPS. Photo supplied from John Breen's private collection.1890s Indian & European police at CPS. Photo supplied from John Breen's private collection.

If you can help, please let me know by email, or in the comments below.

Thanks & regards,



I'm providing photo research services to the Central Police Station compound project [1]. The photos will be used to illustrate books documenting the site's history, and also for information panels around the site.

What we're looking for

The top priority is to find photos of the buildings in the compound, ie the Police Station, the Magistracy, and Victoria Prison.

1999. E Hall, Victoria Prison. Photo supplied from David Hodson's private collection.1999. E Hall, Victoria Prison. Photo supplied from David Hodson's private collection.

The hardest to find will be photos taken inside those buildings, so any leads to those will be especially welcome.

Other themes we're interested in illustrating include:

  • The neighborhood around the CPS
  • Crime & Criminals
  • Police & Policing
  • Judges & Justice
  • Punishment, Prison, and Prisoners
So any images that show those themes will also be very welcome.

How they’ll be used

Initially I’m casting the net wide, and trying to find all the relevant images that are out there – whether in formal collections, or tucked away in that old shoebox of family photos. I hope to get a draft copy of each one (just a quick snap on a digital camera is fine) so I can add it to our list of relevant images. This work has just started, and continues til June - or earlier if finding the photos goes well.

Later the graphic experts will look through those images to choose the ones they'll use in the books and displays. At that point we’ll need to arrange to take careful professional copies of the old images.

1886. CPS compound seen from above.1886. CPS compound seen from above.

The finished books won't start appearing until next year, so I'll say up front it's going to look as though nothing is happening for a long time after this initial burst of activity, but rest assured we'll be working on the project in the background.

Ideas of where to look

Local collections include the Hong Kong PRO, Museum of History, Police Museum, and Correctional Services Museum. Overseas there’s the UK National Archive, the RAS, SOAS, etc.

For personal collections, I'm hoping we'll hear from people who worked in the Police Station, Magistracy, or Prison. Families whose older relatives worked there may also have something in the family album.

1900s Chinese policeman. Photo courtesy of Moddsey.1900s Chinese policeman. Photo courtesy of Moddsey.

And anyone with collections of old (1940s & earlier) photos of Hong Kong may also have relevant photos.

How to help

If you know of any images that show the themes above, please let me know.

Or if you can think of other people / groups I should contact, that will be very helpful information too.

And if there is anything you’d like to check first, I’ll be happy to answer any questions.

Thanks again, David


  1. Read more about the CPS compound project at



I think the Hong Kong Police may help with your search by placing an appeal in their Off Beat Newspaper. The paper is issued in both Chinese and English and is read by most officers.

Try contacting the Police Public Relations Bureau. Worth a try anyway.

Good luck and keep up the excellent (and fascinating) work.

Jon (ex-police)


Off Beat Newspaper

Thanks Jon, that's something I hadn't thought of, and a good way to reach police officers. I'll follow up.

Regards, David

EIA report

David the link above to the Environmental Impact Assessment Report of the current CPS revitalisation project has some interesting views, plans and sections through the years.

Thanks Julian, some good

Thanks Julian, some good plans & photos, and lots of useful information in there.

Regards, David

Central Police Station

David, I presume you are aware that the publication "The Royal Hong Kong Police (1845-1945)" by Crisswell and Watson, pub. 1982, has several CPS photographs?


Books about Central Police Station

Hi Ian,

Thank you for the recommendation. I do plan to look through books that may have relevant photos, which includes books that collect old photos of Hong Kong, and books that are about the history of police / prison / courts.

For the police force I'll start with the list of books at If you know of any others that are relevant, please let me know.

Thanks & regards, David