A lady's impressions of Hong Kong

Date(s) of events described: 
Sat, 1900-06-30

This speech was gven to the Manchester Geographical Society at Finchwood, Marple, on Saturday, June 30th, 1900, at 6 p.m.


There has been within the last twenty years a growing interest taken in our own colonies. It may be that travelling has become so much cheaper and better, that we see more of one another. Formerly a person-going out to Australia or the East seemed lost to his friends and relatives for the rest of his life, only a small percentage returning. Now it is quite customary to visit friends and relatives living in the colonies, a journey to or from the antipodes being a very ordinary affair, and undertaken by some persons and families every few years. And then for those who do not visit the colonies, but who read of them, we know that the writings of Rudyard Kipling and others have done much to stimulate a sympathy and feeling of brotherhood among all races living under the British flag.

If we look at a map of the world, the British colonies being marked in some vivid colour, Hong-Kong looks small and insignificant compared to the large areas of Australia, Canada, or the possessions in Africa; but its importance is not to be estimated by its size alone. It is the position which makes it so valuable—first as a naval station, and secondly as a distributing centre for trade. It is marvellous in how short a time it has grown to its present importance.

1900's Hong Kong panorama
1900's Hong Kong panorama

Sixty years ago it was

c.1925 Central Praya

This week's view is from an old postcard titled "Central Praya".

c.1925 Central Praya

Where: We're looking west along the old seafront, or "Praya". It's today's Connaught Road. There's a patch of open land in the foreground on the left, part of Statue Square. That puts the photographer and his camera up on the balcony of the Hong Kong Club building.

The first building we see is Queen's Building [1]. It's also the oldest building in the photo, completed in 1899:

Queen's Building

If we walk on along Connaught Road we'll pass several buildings, then after crossing Pedder Street we'll reach

BAAG names and code-numbers

Elizabeth Ride has kindly sent a list of additional British Army Aid Group (BAAG) numbers, and the people they refer to.

In most cases these people were BAAG agents, working for the British in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation. They were referred to in written messages by number rather than name, for added security in case the message was intercepted by the Japanese. eg it was safer to send a message by runner that "62 was going to be in Shum Chun on Thursday" than include 62's name.

c.1901 Queen's Road East

c.1901 Queen's Road East

What: The two banners are very eye-catching:

1950s Central

1950s Central

Where: There's a street sign on the left:


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