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Where: We're in Sheung Wan, looking east along Des Voeux Road from near the junction with Cleverly Street. Off in the distance we can see a couple of trams, and beyond them is the junction with Rumsey Street, where Des Voeux Road veers around to the right:
To the left of the trams is an older version of the Wing On Department Store. They still have a store on the same site today.
Gwulo talk in London on 20th February
Next month I'll be giving a talk to the Hong Kong Society in London. Karen Luard, their chairman, says "anyone who is interested to come is welcome", so I hope you'll join us.
Details and booking: http://hkas.org.uk/hks-events/hks-annual-lecture
Who: The short shadows suggest it's near midday, and the streets are busy with the lunchtime crowd. Down in the foreground a dapper gentlemen is heading further afield in a rickshaw, passing a labourer carrying a couple of heavy baskets:
What: The buildings are decorated with flags:
And in the distance is what looks like the tower of a temporary 'pai-lau', the ceremonial arches built for special occasions:
When: This postcard comes from an album that belonged to a British serviceman in WW2. The pages are dated from 1943-45, and follow his travels.
The Hong Kong pages are dated 1945, so he'd have arrived shortly after liberation. But I think that most, if not all of the postcards he bought show pre-war views taken in the 1930s.
Given the flags and tower, this could have been taken near to the date of one of the major royal events of the 1930s, either King George V's silver jubilee in May 1935, or the coronation of King Edward VIII in January 1936.
The people are dressed more for May weather than January, so I'll date this to 1935. Corrections welcome!
It would be good to know more about the postcards on sale in late 1945.
After the Japanese surrender, people in Hong Kong were very short of cash. The allied servicemen visiting Hong Kong had money to spend, and local salesmen would be keen to sell to them. I can imagine postcards would have been on sale almost as soon as the first allied ships sailed into harbour in 1945.
But where did they come from? Were there stocks of postcards that had been hidden away during the occupation? It seems more likely that local photographers had kept their negatives safe, and used them to print new postcards for sale. This style of postcard is printed using a photographic process, so if the paper and chemicals were available it would have been possible to get started printing on a small scale very quickly, and without needing a lot of capital.
If anyone has family that were in the photo-studio business around this time, I'd be very interested to hear if they were involved in selling postcards, and how they re-started their business.