Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Welcome

Welcome to Gwulo.com, and over 30,000 pages about old Hong Kong.

If it's your first visit, you might like to use the search box at the top of the page to find what you're looking for, check out the latest old photos, or just scroll down to browse through recent articles.

I hope you'll join in too, and share your questions and knowledge with us. Most pages let you leave a comment, it's easy to upload a photo, and the Forum is waiting for you to post a new message.

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Kind regards,

David

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

New on Gwulo: 2021, week 41

A look at what's new on the Gwulo website...

 

Quarantine's end
 

This time tomorrow I'll be out of quarantine at last.

If you need to book a quarantine package, I've been happy with my stay here at Four Points by Sheraton in Tung Chung: comfortable room, good service, fast wifi, and no complaints about the food. (I do have one complaint though - the title of the hotel deal: Fun-filled Quarantine Stay Package in Hong Kong. "Fun-filled"??? Whoever wrote that should be forced to spend three weeks in quarantine!)

Hopefully you won't have to spend quite so long in quarantine by the time it is your turn. Local Doctor David Owens asks "Is Hong Kong’s 21-Day Quarantine evidence-based or justified?". Short answer: no.

 

Next on Gwulo
 

Apologies for the recent glut of newsletters, but they've certainly kept me busy and made the last three weeks fly by. We'll go from feast to famine, as once I'm home again I'll get back to work on upgrading the Gwulo website to the new software. It will take several months to finish, and during that time I'll focus on the upgrade so the newsletters will mostly be just the "New on Gwulo:" summaries.

 

General
 


 

Places

Hong Kong ephemera

The recent UK trip ended on a Sunday with a visit to the Bloomsbury Ephemera Fair in London. The fair is held on the last Sunday of the month, and if I finish a UK trip in London I usually try and arrange the dates so I can go along.

The postcard fair I'd attended the previous week is mostly postcards with a few photos, but an ephemera fair has a much wider selection of material. Letters, tickets, catalogues, and programmes are just some of the old paper items you'll expect to see. On previous visits there have been plenty of postcard sellers too, which is why I go. Here's my first postcard purchase of the day:

 

"Chinese life, boy carrying baby"

Chinese life, boy carrying baby

 

Does it look familiar? Compare it with this

New on Gwulo: 2021, week 40

A look at what's new on the Gwulo website...
 

General
 

  • Typhoon Wendy, 1957
     
  • Signal hill and the meridian marks - an update on the discoveries made: ... the entire history of the built structures needed to operate it has now been uncovered and, out of the nine elements created to operate the Hong Kong Time Service between c.1883 and 1928, what remains of eight of them have been identified ...
     
  • A short story about Ah Mooi and her baby carrier
     
  • Does anyone know what "CCDO" stood for in 1940, or recognise any of the people in this photo?
    CCDO Staff Hong Kong 1940 - IMG_20211006_0001.jpg
    CCDO Staff Hong Kong 1940, by Andrew Suddaby

 


 

Places

The National Archives - Historic Hong Kong maps and plans

Apart from the documents we looked at in the last newsletter, The National Archives (TNA) also has a great collection of old maps and plans to explore.

 

Kowloon West Battery

A good example of what's available is the plan of the Kowloon West Battery I knew of it because Rob had previously uploaded this section:

Kowloon West Bty.jpeg
Kowloon West Bty., by The National Archives WO 78/2608

 

Rob also gave us its reference, WO 78/2608, so we can find it in TNA's catalogue. The catalogue description isn't very exciting, it just says 'Hong Kong'. But it does gives the date as 5 Nov 1903, and its two sub-entries give a better idea of what to expect:

Kowloon West battery, Record plan:
and site plans. Ref: WO 78/2608/1

Kowloon West battery: Plans and sections of stores,
magazines, etc. Ref: WO 78/2608/2

I placed an order to see them, and this is what I received

The National Archives - Historic Hong Kong documents

On my recent UK trip, I also made sure to visit The National Archives (TNA) at Kew. Covid's affects on travel meant it had been over two years since my previous visit, so I was looking forward to it.

Let's take a look at this visit's discoveries.

 

Monia Talan, saboteur & spy

Mr Monia Talan was a member of Z Force during the fighting in 1941, a group formed to conduct sabotage and intelligence work behind enemy lines in the case of a Japanese attack on Hong Kong. He seemed like an interesting man to learn more about, and TNA's catalogue lists two documents that mention him.

First we have:

Monia TALAN - born 28.05.1913, Ref: HS 9/1439/3

The catalogue record doesn't give any further information so it needed a visit to take a look at the original file. Here's what you get, a protective wrapper with a file inside that has all the original paperwork on this topic.

Monia Talan's file

 

Monia Talan's file opened

 

Much of this correspondence covers his difficulties in

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