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

Some new old photos (but are they any good?)

We'll start with some photos and postcards I bought last month. Then as I've been arguing with the book designer about what makes a good photo, we'll take a look at that too.

The seven photos are all the small type that were typically sold to tourists to go in to their photo album. In this case I don't see any sign that the photos were mounted, so the original owner probably just kept them loose. (As always, you can click on any photo to see a larger copy you can zoom in to.)

Chinese junk
Chinese junk

Machine Gun Posts around Hong Kong's coastline

This week's guest post from Rob Weir introduces a collection of military sites around the Hong Kong coastline from the 1930s. They're small enough to be easily overlooked, but they have an interesting history.

The Machine Gun Posts are first found in the 1935 Hong Kong Defence Plan, where they are listed at various beaches assessed as potential landing sites for an invader, both on HK Island and the Mainland. Here are their locations shown on a map. (e-mail subscribers, please click here to view the web version of this page and see the map.)


Whether they were built before then is unknown, however within a couple of years their usefulness was in question, firstly on the Mainland with the construction of Pillboxes on the Inner Line, and then on the Island when the New Policy determined that, effectively, only the Island was to be defended. All beaches were then considered as landing places, and were to be defended with Pillboxes. These were subsequently built, often within a few metres of the Machine Gun Post position.


What remains today?

The markers on the map are colour-coded to show if any remains of a site still exist (yellow), or if the site has been cleared (red). With the exception of a few built in still-isolated areas, most have succumbed to development, their original positions now hundreds of metres from the nearest water amid buildings and streets.

This photo shows

Early 1900s view northeast from the Peak - part 2

We first looked at this photo a few weeks ago (see the newsletter for 20th August).

c.1904 View over Hong Kong Harbour


That time I concentrated on the area around the Naval Yard Extension project, which helped us date the photo to early 1904.

Naval Yard Extension under construction


Today we'll take a closer look at the right of the photo, running from eastern mid-levels, through Wanchai, and ending at Causeway Bay

Chinese seamen in Second World War Britain: Do their families live in Hong Kong today?

Yvonne Foley introduces a little-known piece of UK-Chinese history, in the hope of hearing from the families who were involved.

At the beginning of the Second World War there were 20,000 Chinese mariners in the port of Liverpool, England. Many were there to replace the British merchant seamen who had gone to join the Royal Navy. A significant proportion of these men were from Hong Kong, Singapore, Ningbo and Shanghai and became trapped in the UK when in late 1941 and early 1942 the Japanese took each of these places.

Paid around a third of British seamen’s pay and not getting the danger money given to the British, the Chinese withdrew their labour. The strike lasted from February 1942 to May of the same year. By the end of it they had almost achieved equality of pay but had established a reputation as troublemakers with the ship owners and the Government – especially the men from Shanghai.

At the end of hostilities the Government and the ship owners determined to get rid of the Chinese. By the middle of 1946 nearly all had gone. This despite the fact that many had married or were in relationships with British women and now had families living in Liverpool.


A mixed marriage in Liverpool in WW2


It was difficult to remove the Hong Kong men, as they were nominally British. But the Shanghai ‘troublemakers’ were different: they had no

"1926 - Nullah swept away"

With typhoons and hurricanes in the news recently, here's a photo of one that made the news just over 90 years ago.

"1926 - Nullah swept away"


When: The title gives us the date, 1926. We can do better than that, as the photo must have been taken shortly after the


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