Photos of old Hong Kong

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:

David email

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:
    Harvard VIA

     - 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

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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

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.  

 

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

Interesting scenes of 1930s Hong Kong on:

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

 

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.

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.

not sure if anyone has posted this link before, but seems to be afew good pictures on here too: http://hkfilex.rthk.org.hk/memorieX/

Thanks to Paul Watty for getting in touch:

I lived in Hong Kong between 1968 and 1971 and have a series of photos from the period - they're more family photos than scenery, but I hope they may be of some interest.

He describes them as:

A selection of photos, featuring me, my mother, my father, brother Peter, HMS Intrepid and Fred the dog.

My father was based in Victoria Barracks between 1968 and 1971, we lived in Montgomery Block just above the barracks and I attended school at Victoria infants.

View the photos here.

The text at the top of this page used to include the section below.

Unfortunately the link to Harry's website no longer works, and I can't find any sign of his new website on the internet. They are great photos, so Harry, if you read this please could you let us know your new website? Or if you need a new home for your photos, we'll be very happy to host them here.

Regards, David

  • Harry Marshall has several photos of Hong Kong in the 1950s (click on the thumbnails along the right for a larger version of the picture and background information). His introduction begins:

During the British National Service years I was stationed in Hong Kong from 1954 to 1957. Initially I was one of the R.E.M.E. personnel attached to the 27th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment at Stanley Fort on Hong Kong Island. Then followed a short period on Stone Cutters Island before I was finally transferred to the R.E.M.E. workshop in Shamshuipo. Repatriation came in July 1957, and I was sorry to leave. Hong Kong I mean, not the Army! I couldn't wait to get out of the bxxxxy Army! — But I had fallen in love with Hong Kong.

How many photos have we created here? Take a guess...

 :

 :

 :

I got a very pleasant surprise when I checked this week: 3,580 !

That includes all the photos uploaded here, and the photos we've linked to on Flickr. It doesn't include any photos pasted straight into text, so the total number of photos visible on the site is even higher.

Many thanks to every one who has taken the time to upload photos here or on Flickr. Next stop 5,000 ...

Regards, David

Check this out. 

http://oldphoto.lb.nagasaki-u.ac.jp/en/list.php?req=3&target=Hong%20Kong

it includes a photo of the Protestant Cemetery.

Enjoy

hoito

80sKid has found this set of photos:

Great series of shots taken during Far East tour in late 1930s, including a number of Hong Kong here:

http://www.croiseur-lamotte-picquet.fr/index.php?page=hong

They are very high-resolution scans, so there is lots of detail to see.

Here is a shot of the Ma Wan village. Not sure when it was taken, but some parts of the village are now developed and very modern but some parts are still untouched and in original condition.

http://parkislandhongkong.blogspot.com/2012/02/photo-of-ma-wan-village-before-it-was.html

A nice set from the 1950s: http://imgur.com/a/Haout#0

Thanks to Chris for the link.

Regards, David

Interesting viewpoint - Hong Kong as seen from kayak, including several of the old KCR terminus in TST: https://plus.google.com/photos/117963875908342241471/albums/5257401593285992209?banner=pwa

Thanks to Jim for the link,

regards, David

I have started this page recently. I'm uploading all my collections about photos taken during Qing Dynasty, both original and electronic copies. You must have seen most of them though.....:)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E8%88%8A%E5%BD%B1-Hong-Kong-Old-Photograph/431607540258153

 

HF

Very nice. 
I liked your page and passed to my friends. 

 

Only a few people find them interesting.

My (Paul Watty) photos are now at

http://wattyworld.co.uk/Hong-Kong-68-71.htm

Hello David;

A link for some excellent colour shots of 50's/60's HK can be found at a US Navy site http://ussdehaven.org/.

It was common knwledge that the US sailors had better cameras and gear than their Royal Navy counterparts - primarily due to the wage disparity between the navies, with Jack Tar coming in a lowly fourth in line after the Canadians, Americans, and Aussies.

I can especially recommend the shots taken by George Hofius and Scott Martin (who runs the site).  George has an excellent shot of Government House which he took from the top of the Hilton Hotel - and one of the Colonial Secretariat Building just below it.  He also has a shot of the site of the old Foreign Correspondents Club on Conduit Road where scenes for "A Many Splendored Thing" were filmed.

Also, a shot by Don Holloway (50's #25) will show you the HKFC Stadium looking east - showing the line of HKG houses that used to line Wongneichong Road.

Enjoy!

G.

Thanks Gerald, some very good photos there.

I can't see any way to link directly to a gallery, but George's photos are at Photo Galleries >> 60's photos >> 65-68 George Hofius  >> In and around Hong Kong.

Regards, David

Hi David;

Try this one: http://ussdehaven.org/images/martin/martin_hk1.htm

Best regards,

Gerald

Hi David;

Try this one: http://ussdehaven.org/images/martin/martin_hk1.htm

Best regards,

Gerald

Hi Geralk

I noticed images 89 & 90 should have been looking towards Pokfulam Reservoir and the High West respectively instead of the Repulse Bay.   The photographer would likely be somewhere on The Peak.

On the other hand, the Cinema featuring 'The Battle of the Bulge' as shown in photo 121 was said to be haunted.  Sort of a believe it or not stuff.

Best Regards,

T

I think Scott Martins photos are the best ones in existence of Wanchai in the '60s-I've never yet found any better ones (well, I took a few myself in '72, but not nearly as many as him). Too bad he doesn't keep that album on Flickr (or Gwulo!), where a lot more people might see his work.

Scott is the webmaster for USSDeHaven.org, so you could always drop him a line and make that suggestion.  I agree with you about Wanchai during the 60's - he even got a shot of the China Fleet Club, which I never did in all the years I lived there.  Several of the others in the DeHaven Photo Gallery uploaded business cards from all the Wanchai bars they frequented, including a letter to the ship's company inviting them in for a complimentary first drink. They don't do that anymore!

I tried contacting him through his Facebook page-I wanted to use a few of his photos to illustrate my collection of HK bar cards on Flickr, but got no response.

You'll probably have better luck contacting him using the USSDeHaven page contact info.  I did that and got a response from him.

lots of photos from 1949, including some unusual ones. Strong BOAC connection

http://natlib.govt.nz/photos?utf8=%E2%9C%93&text=hong+kong

There is also the Hong Kong in the '60s group
Barbara

Phil's blog http://hongkongandmacaufilmstuff.blogspot.hk/ is a good example of how film stills are a source for photos of old Hong Kong. He's posted and identified stills from a bunch of different films and TV series, with a special interest in Kung-fu movies. 

Regards, David

thanks for the link, David. Thomas has been instrumental in discovering many of the film locations as well.

Pages