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'.

Give yourself a pat on the back

Earlier this evening, Gwulo received an award from AIA Hong Kong, a Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. It was presented at this year's Honors and Awards Reception, and reads:

The American Institute of Architects Hong Kong Chapter in accordance with its Chapter Bylaws confers an AIA Hong Kong Citation to Gwulo.com in recognition of distinguished achievement in the Chapter's region for collecting, researching and sharing thousands of historic photographs of our buildings, relics, neighbourhoods and people, now preserved in the interactive website, Gwulo.com, thereby raising public awareness and appreciation for the physical and cultural heritage of Hong Kong.

Thank you to AIA Hong Kong for this citation, it is greatly appreciated.

The citation recognises the work of everyone who has contributed photos, facts, questions, and stories to Gwulo.com. Thank you, and well done!

Best regards, David

1926 Submarines and HMS Titania

When / Where: A note on the back of the photo answers both questions -

H.M.S. "Titania"
Hongkong 1926 

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

What: If you think this looks like mother duck with her ducklings, you're not far off the mark. HMS Titania, the ship on the right, was a

1920s Kennedy Town

Where: The landmarks in this photo are Green Island and its lighthouse:

Both are still with us today:

So we're looking out to the west from Hong Kong island, over Kennedy Town and beyond.

Birthday buildings in 2013

Do you recognise the building [1] in this email I received:

Hi All

Shot through taxi window... Does anybody know if there has been/will be a centenary 'celebration' of this building this year? If so, I've missed it.

PB [2]

It turns out that the '1913' marks the date of a renovation, not the date it was first built, but it got me thinking... which other buildings deserve a birthday card this year, and how far back can we go?

50 years old

This photo of the Mandarin Hotel was taken soon after it opened:

c.1917 View over Happy Valley and Causeway Bay

Where: This view looks east from the hill above the cemeteries in Happy Valley. The wooded slopes on the left are Morrison Hill, when it was still a hill! Across to their right is an open area used for sports grounds, then right again we can see the edge of the race-track.

Across the middle of the photo run more wooded hillsides - Leighton Hill on the right, and on the left the hill where Jardine Matheson had several grand buildings. Then above that is the old typhoon shelter, today the site of Victoria Park. Read more »

CPS project 3rd update: Prison and punishment

I'm searching for old photos (or sketches, paintings, etc) to illustrate the history of the Central Police Station (CPS) site (click here for details of the project). In this update I'll look at what punishments were given to convicted criminals, and the prison buildings on the CPS site.


If you'd been caught by the police and found guilty by the magistrate, you coud expect to receive some combination of the following punishments: Read more »

Childhood memories of 1920s Hong Kong

Barbara Anslow remembers her childhood in Hong Kong in the 1920s:

1927 - Sailing to Hong Kong with the P & O

Nothing in our village life in Crombie, Scotland had prepared us for the enthralling new world we were entering when we trooped up the gangway on to R.M.S. 'Rawalpindi' [1]. The Redwood family were setting off to Hong Kong where my Dad, an Electrical Engineer, was to work in the Naval Dockyard. Mum was 32, Dad 35, sister Olive 11, Mabel 4, and I was 8. Read more »

1920s Swimming at Repulse Bay

Where: We're swimming again, but this time it's at Repulse Bay. The big building on the left is the old Repulse Bay Hotel, looking out over its gardens to the beach, and the sea beyond:

When: The hotel was opened on the 1st of January, 1920 [1], so it must be later than that. Not too much later though, judging by the look of the

 Read more »

Three Years and Eight Months

Icy SMITH [????- ]
Date of events covered by this document: 
Mon, 1941-12-08 - Tue, 1945-09-25


This is an unusual book. It covers a topic we don't often read about in English - the experiences of the local Chinese and Eurasian population during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. And despite the dark subject, it has lots of colour illustrations and writes about the experiences of a young boy, making it attractive to a younger audience.

Sample pages from "Three Years and Eight Months", by Icy Smith

1907 Soldiers swimming

When: Here's the back of the photo:

"Taken at Kowloon Pier. (old city) A Coy's swimming test. 7/07"

Which I'm guessing means it was taken in July 1907.

Who: Soldiers from "A" Company. A couple have their caps on, and one

 Read more »

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