Here we bring together the photos of old Hong Kong that are hosted on this site, and links to other collections.

Gwulo - Photos for sale

If you'd like to buy a photograph of old Hong Kong for yourself, or as a gift, we have a catalogue of photos suitable for framing. Click here to see the Catalogue. All orders include free shipping worldwide, and your money back if you are not satisfied.

Digital copies are available too, for you to use in your own creative projects (event backdrops, brochures, printed materials, etc). Please contact me for details of licencing:

Gwulo - Photos for browsing

Most photos here are not for sale, but they are great for browsing. We have over 3,500, so there are lots to see. If you know what you are looking for you can:

  • Search by location - Use our photo map of Hong Kong to choose the building or area you are interested in, then see what photos we have that show them.
  • Search by decade - Visit the galleries to find photos grouped by decade, from the 1860s to the present day.

Or if you like surprises, just click the photo on the right (see 'Random Photo'). That will show you a larger copy of the photo, some information about it, and ... a new Random Photo!

Most of the photos have been kindly contributed by readers like you. Do you have any you can share? It's easy to upload them to Gwulo.com, or to show them here if they're already on Flickr.

Other photo collections

Other websites with good photos of old Hong Kong include:

  • The Hong Kong Public Records Office offers an online catalogue to their 'Archives for Still and Moving Images'. There are over 8,000 images in the archive.
  • The Hong Kong Public Library also has a good online search for old photos. The photos can be viewed and downloaded in high-resolution (though with the library's logo on the picture), which means they can be cleaned up well in an image editor. [3-Oct-2008: For me this site only works with Internet Explorer, not Firefox. When you click the link you should see a search screen. If you don't, check the opening hours as the service closes at different times for maintenance.]
  • Hedda Morrison took several hundred photos of Hong Kong in 1946-7. Over 300 of these photos have been scanned at high-resolution and placed online in Harvard University's VIA system. VIA's viewer allows you to zoom in to see a high level of detail.
    To see the photos:
     - Visit the Via website at: http://via.lib.harvard.edu/via/deliver/advancedsearch?_collection=via
     - In the "Search for: " section, type hedda morrison in the first box and hong kong in the second. Choose Place from the second drop-down list. It should look like this:

     - Click the 'Search' button
     - You should see "Search results: 1 to 15 of 309 hits from the search hedda morrison in (Anywhere) and hong kong in (Place)", followed by a list of photos
     - Click any photo to see its 'Full record'
     - On the Full record page, double click the image to open the viewer, which lets you zoom and pan around the image.
     - NB if you want to give someone a link to one of these photos, don't just use the url shown in your browser when you're viewing the photo.  When you try to view it later, you'll just see an error. Instead you need to double-click the thumbnail to see the full record, then look for the link 'Bookmark this item'. That's the link you can share that will work reliably in future.
  • The St Georges School website has a gallery of photos of Kowloon believed taken in the 1960s.

I was brought up in Hong Kong in the 60s and went to the Peak School and KGV. These photos were mostly taken by myself on a Kodak Instamatic and Olympus OM10 between 1969 and 1987. A few other photos were given to me and some slides were bought from a street vendor in the late 70s. I hope you enjoy this bit of nostalgia as much as I did compiling it.

If you know of any other sites with good photos of old Hong Kong, please add a comment below with the details.

Regards, David

Comments

Rest of Peter's photos

The scanner is home again with a brand new bulb, so here are the rest of the slides.

There are two more from the September set:

 

Then we switch to a second set dated November 1966.  It starts with fishing junks out in the South China Sea:

Then there is a sequence of photos as he sails towards Hong Kong Harbour from the East, then in past Shau Kei Wan and Kai Tak airport:

 

It looks as though they continue to sail round past TST and Ocean Terminal, then up the coast towards Yau Ma Tei:

1941 Hong Kong - Photo collection

I was very excited when I stumbled across the collection of photographer Harrison Forman. There are over 300 photographs taken in Hong Kong in 1941 - fantastic!

Museum of History's online catalogue

I though that the PRO and the Public Library were the only government-run image collections. But here's another, as introduced by the AMO: The Museum of History's Online Catalogue.

It uses yet another system to index and view images, with its own strengths and weaknesses. First if you try it and nothing happens, which browser are you using? I tried with Firefox several times, but it only worked when I switched to IE (Internet Explorer).  Even with IE, when I clicked an image thumbnail to see a larger copy, the pop-up window was usually blank. The museum staff say when this happens just press the F5 key, and the image appears. That worked for me.

If you can get past those problems, the search works well and there is a good collection of images, including many I hadn't seen before.

It's worth visiting their resource centre if you have time.  (You have to make an appointment, but I was the only person there when I visited, so I don't think you'll have any trouble getting in). There you can use a much faster tool to search their photo collection, and can scroll through images as fast as you can view them. Much quicker than searching via the internet. It also seemed to me that the search in the resource centre shows results that don't appear in the internet search.

Fred Evans' 1950s photos

Mr B - I was looking through Mr Fred Evans' photos and wondered if my father Brian Colburn (also known as 'Butch') could have been in one of his group photos? As my father died 11 years ago, do you have any way of asking Fred if it could have been my father? Looking at the timing of Fred's service in Hong Kong they would have overlapped at Sek Kong for 18 months.

I now live in Hong Kong and have been trying to visit the areas where I believe my father spent two wonderful years.

I hope you can assist Many thanks Regards Amanda

Brian Colburn

Hi Amanda, I'll pass on the question, and let you know what I hear back. It'll take a while as unfortunately Fred has no connection to the Internet.

Were there any of Fred's photos where you think you can see your father?

And if you have any of your farther's photos from that time online, please feel free to leave a link so others can see them.

Regards, MrB

re: Brian Colburn

Sorry Amanda, the reply from Fred is that he doesn't remember that name.

You're welcome to use this site to try and find other friends that might have known your father in Hong Kong. Here's a few tips if you do.

Good luck,

MrB

photos from 1972

I don't know if anyone has already found these but there are some photos on panoramio (i.e. google earth) from a chap called Alfred Mueller.

MrB - there is one of the KCR terminus - not sure if you have already found this one or not?

Re: Photos from 1972

Hi there,

Just checked the photos and found quite a few of tham had been flipped horizontally.  I have left comments or fild for misplaced photos.  Let's hope I did not offend the photographer.

Best Regards,

T

re: photos from 1972

Phil, yes, that's a good one. Here are some other albums I came across when searching for photos of the KCR terminus:

For groups of photos (ie not a person's own album), or an ongoing project like dboo, I like to subscribe to them in an RSS reader. Then I can see new photos as they are added.

David

Hong Kong 1941 / 45

HMCS Prince Robert saw the start and the end of WII in Hong Kong. In November 1941 it was one of the two ships that delivered the Canadian soldiers to Hong Kong. Then in 1945 it was one of the first allied ships to return to Hong Kong as the Japanese surrendered.

The main website covers the life of the ship Prince Robert. Here are some sections that are specific to Hong Kong:

Images of HK in the 60's & 70's

Thanks to Gweipo for letting us know there's an exhibition of Yau Leung's photos at Picture This, running 'til Dec 6th.

I have a book of his photos (ISBN 962041697X) that includes several of the photos in the exhibition. There's no English text, but the pictures are excellent.

MrB

Exhibition of old photos

There's an exhibition of old photos from Macau, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong in Exhibition Gallery 3 (on the ground floor) of the Central Library from 9-16th of December.

I happened to see it advertised when I was at the library today. I enjoyed it - not worth making a special trip to see, but worth a visit if you're in the area.

More details on the library website.

Videos of Hong Kong, 1967

Chris King has uploaded some more of his videos to Facebook, and reader Kent has emailed to say that a few of them can now also be seen on Youtube.

Corbis

The Corbis website is a commercial site selling images. The images are from professional photographers, and so are of a good quality.

If you use their advanced search, you can search for photos taken in a certain location during a given range of years.

eg a search for photos taken in Hong Kong between 1850-1960 returns 96 images. Unfortunately it looks as though not all photos have a date set. Those won't show in a date-search like the example I used.

Happy browsing!

HKVCA Image Gallery

The Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association has an image gallery with photos, maps, and clippings related to the Canadians' experience here in WWII. Thanks to Moddsey for the link to this.

How to search HKPRO for pictures?

I had used the HKPL image search for old HK pics and had landed on some good pics of Robinson Rd and Caine Rd - thanks Mr B for his tips on using IE rather than Firefox. Yet,  no such luck with PRO. What is the secret? What should I fill in for each box and what is the input format I should use? I am trying to search for pictures of Robinson Rd (really St joseph Terrace) in the 70's.

Re: How to search HKPRO for pictures?

Well first go to this website

http://www.grs.gov.hk/ws/english/es_online_cata.htm#

then go into archives for still and moving images, then into photographs, then click onto the photographic on-line catalogue which then gives one a search page. Then under keyword(s) search:  type in Robinson or Caine or whatever, which then gives a host of records. However, not all records contain a digital image.  Click on the black camera to the right of the selected records to view them. Cheers

 

 

 

Thank you Moddsey

The precise instructions help, I manage to find a few good ones.

Early Hong Kong transport

The HKU Museum on Bonham Road is running an exhibition of 100 old photos from Cheng Po Hung on this topic, from now until 28 June. Details here.

I had a quick look around today, but not surprisingly my 5-year old daughter didn't want to linger. Worth a second visit.

Photos from Life via Google

Reader 80skid has turned up a treasure trove of photos of old Hong Kong:

found a wonderful resource of high-res photos of Hong Kong on the Life web site.

Here's the statue of Queen Victoria looking the worse for wear with arm broken off.

There's a lot of spectacular photos on here; you need to be inventive with tags to find them

re Photos from Life via Google

Have fun! most seem to be taken immediately after the war though there's a number from 1948/49. some great shots of the city, happy valley, repulse bay, ruins etc. Also there's a great shot of Jimmy's Kitchen in theatre lane still bricked up against air raids.

Hong Kong 1868-72

In the original article I mentioned John Thomson, and linked to a gallery's website with a handful of his photos.

The Wellcome library has a much better collection - over 100 photos of Hong Kong from this period. Well worth a look. (Clicking an entry in the list will show you a thumbnail and some background information. Click the thumbnail to see a larger version.)

Pathe films

An email from Stephen Pannell introduces the Pathe archive. This company produced the newsreels that were shown in cinemas, before TV news became widespread.

A quick search for 'Hong Kong' shows 170 films covering the period from 1920-1970. So, looks like there is lots to see.

Unfortunately it isn't the easiest of sites to use. I can't see any way to watch a film online (you have to download it first), or to embed it on another website.

Re: Pathe Films

The Pathe Films are a valuable historical resource archive. The only problem is it is cumbersome to use as each download of free film preview is preceded with registration and personal information. One has to accept this as downloading of flim or newsreel are only meant for private use. Beware that some films have no audio and that there is nothing wrong with your speakers.

A problem I had some time back was after I had updated my Windows Media Player to a newer version, my computer lost the function to view the films that were previously downloaded and so I had to spend a greater part of my time going over the archive and re-doing the process. Cheers.

Former British Military Bases and Barracks

Nice scenes of former British military bases and barracks on this webisite:

http://picasaweb.google.com/Colin.Aitchison7

There are nice aerial views of Stonecutters Island from the 1930s. And for David an interesting War Department Boundary Stone at Cassino Lines

Old HK Then & Now

I was having a quick surf on the web earlier and came across a great Flickr website.

Someone has gone an obtained loads of old photos of Hong Kong and then gone through a lot of trouble to find the exact place and vantage point of the original and taken a modern snap. They are quite accurate.

I've wanted to do the same with some of the old photos from the war, but this fella has done a grand job.

I recognise one photo that is on Gwulo, the photo of a Pillbox and ARP's outside near Pacific Place and Admiralty taken in about '41.

You can see lovely looking old buildings which have been replaced by ugly concrete and glass. Some of the old buildings that have been demolished is nothing short of criminal, but because some greedy landlord rather have a 30 story office block they have been flattened..... who needs history when you have a fat wallet? 

Check it out.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/old-hk/

If someone has already mentioned the site, my apologies.  

 

re: Old HK Then & Now

Hi Craig, I did give him a mention on the page about HK & Flickr, but he's well worth highlighting again. Apart from the quality of his photos, it's also amazing how quickly he gets them finished. I've bookmarked plenty that I'd like to add here, but can't keep up! If anyone sees one they'd like to share here, please go ahead and add it.

Cheers, David

Hong Kong - Gateway to China 1938

Interesting scenes of 1930s Hong Kong on:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIHTrmz4hTI&feature=fvw

 

'History of Hong Kong' series from RTHK

Looks like this could be interesting. You can see it on ATV World every Wednesday from 18 November 2009, at 1855.

Or you can view it online from the RTHK Website's archive.

Albums from Peter Moss

I recently received an email from Peter Moss, linking to his photo albums. There are several that contain photos of Hong Kong:

  • Wind from the North. Photos from the 1967 disturbances, with many taken along the border with China.
  • The drowning of Plover Cove. Photos of the Plover Cove area after the sea had been drained away, but before the new reservoir was filled with fresh water. Also several photos taken around Port Shelter and Silverstrand Bay.
  • Hong Kong retreat. Ma Wan island in the 1970s.

The photos are sharp, the comments below them are interesting, and the name seemed familiar. Then I clicked through to his website, and all became clear - he's the author of many of the glossy Form Asia photo books I've browsed through in local bookshops. Fingers crossed we'll hear more from Peter.