Gwulo.com is for everyone that is interested in old Hong Kong.

If it's your first visit, you might like to start with one of the popular articles listed on the right, or just scroll down to browse through recent articles.

I hope you'll join in too, and ask a question or share your knowledge. Most pages let you leave a comment, and there's always the Forum where you can post a new message.

Enjoy the site,


PS 'Gwu lo' is roughly how '古老' sounds in Cantonese. It means 'ancient' or 'old-fashioned'.

CPS project 4th update: The neighbourhood

In this update for the CPS Project [1] we'll look at photos of the streets around the Central Police Station (CPS) site:

View CPS neighbourhood in a larger map

The neighbourhood

The CPS site is marked in dark blue, and the neighborhood around it in light blue. It isn't a big piece of land - you can walk across it in ten minutes or less - but it contained a great variety of people, living in very different circumstances.

Let's pick the 1870s and introduce some of the local residents that the policemen would have seen.

Saints & Sinners

Two of Hong Kong's biggest Read more »

Gwulo in 2014

Before we look ahead to the new year, let me thank everyone who has contributed to Gwulo over the last twelve months - every day when I visit the website there is something new and interesting to read.

Then for 2014, my goal is to upgrade the website software. It's getting embarrassing, as I said the same thing in 2013, ... and in 2012! More details on last year, and my plans for this year, below.

I hope you'll keep reading Gwulo in the year ahead, and please keep sharing your stories and knowledge of old Hong Kong with us.

Best regards, David


How did last year's plans turn out? Read more »

Exhibition: Photos of old Hong Kong

We're spoilt for choice at the moment, with four different exhibitions underway. (If you're reading this from outside Hong Kong, I've added some other ways to see these photos at the bottom of the page.)

This is the last message for 2013, so before we look at those exhibitions, let me wish you a very happy and healthy new year.

Regards, David

1. John Thomson's photos at the Maritime Museum

They have over eighty of Thomson's photos of Hong Kong and China on display, all taken within a year or two of 1870. The photos have been blown up so there is lots of detail to see. Here's a view of the Praya, with the hills looking very barren and imposing in the background:

Entrance to the exhibition is included in the price of the ticket to the museum, so allow enough time to visit both.

The exhibition

Merry Christmas, Hong Kong style

We've got several old Hong Kong Christmas cards in the photo galleries. Here's the oldest, from the early 1900s:

The setting is a familiar scene for a Christmas card, but it was likely a new experience for the children. The card is titled

Top Ten countdown: Popular Pages

Here are the ten most popular pages on Gwulo in 2013: Read more »

1880s view over Tai Ping Shan to harbour

Where: The photographer was up on Hospital Road, looking north-east across Tai Ping Shan to the harbour, and Tsim Sha Tsui beyond. Here's a copy marked up with some of the roads in the area (click the photo for a larger copy you can zoom in to):

What: Most of the area is densely-packed housing, but there are a few larger buildings and landmarks we can identify. The best group is down in the bottom-left corner:

Japanese tunnel above Wong Nai Chung valley

Our visits to the old Japanese wartime tunnels around Hong Kong don't usually make it to the front page of Gwulo, but this is a special one.

First there's  Read more »

72 years ago: Hong Kong's wartime diaries

Late November, 1941.

72 years ago tensions were high as war with Japan seemed inevitable. On December 8th, those fears were confirmed when Japanese planes attacked Kai Tak, and Japanese soldiers crossed the border into the New Territories. The fighting continued until the British surrendered on Christmas Day. Read more »

Photos from last night's talk

Thank you to everyone who attended last night's talk, and to CAB for a well-organised event (and excellent food!).

Here are the photos I showed. If you'd like a closer look at any of them, just click the photo and you'll be taken to a version you can zoom in on.

If you enjoy photos and stories of old Hong Kong, please click this link to subscribe: http://gwulo.com/subscribe. We'll send you a new photo and story roughly once a week.

Regards, David

Who, What, When & Where? Read more »

1920s View of Central from the Harbour

Where: We're looking at Connaught Road in Central, which ran along the seafront at that time. Here's the old Star Ferry Pier, at the end of Ice House Street:

The photographer may well have taken this photo from one of the Star Ferries.

Gwulo talk: More photographs of old Hong Kong and the tales they tell

When: Wednesday, 20th November at 7pm

Where: Harold Smyth room, St. John's Cathedral

Details and booking: http://www.cab.org.hk/Old_Hong_Kong.png

Across Connaught Road from the pier, and on the left as we look at it, is Queen's Building, where the Mandarin Hotel stands today:

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