Gwulo: Old Hong Kong


Welcome to, 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.

Finally, if you're interested in Hong Kong history, please stay in touch by signing up for Gwulo's free weekly newsletter.

Kind regards,


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

Photo (19): Telephone House 

The fourth and final extract from the new Gwulo book introduces Kowloon's first skyscraper.




This photo looks south along Nathan Road from near the junction with Kimberley Road. It was taken in the 1950s, and captures

Photo (16): Queen Victoria’s statue

Simmering cauldrons, steam cranes, and a disappointing statue all make appearances in this third extract from the new Gwulo book.




Hurley stuck with the patriotic theme, choosing a photo of ‘The Queen Victoria Jubilee Monument’ that was taken from Prince’s Building. Queen Victoria had died the previous year, ending a 63-year reign that began just a few years before Hong Kong became a British colony.

The monument, shown in the left foreground, was built to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee of 1887. It consisted of a stone shelter, housing a ‘disappointing’ statue of a seated Queen Victoria. The disappointment was due to a

Photo (10): Pedder Street

Four buildings, a uniform, and a 'traffic stave' will pin down the date of the photo in this second extract from the new Gwulo book.




This time we’re looking along Pedder Street in the opposite direction, across Des Voeux Road towards Queen’s Road. That means the Hong Kong Hotel is on the left, where The Landmark stands today.

We’re obviously several years later than the previous photo as

Photo (4): Hilltop houses

The first extract from the new Gwulo book discovers that although this photo might look dull, its story has hidden treasure - literally!




Our last photo from the album shows these two buildings on a hilltop. The site also has a grim story attached, but our album owner couldn’t have known that as the events didn’t take place until the 1940s.

Back to 1929, and where was this taken? We’ve obviously left mid-levels behind as we’re at the top of a hill. I drew a blank, and asked readers on the Gwulo website for their help. Regular contributor Moddsey pointed me to the

Pre-order the new Gwulo book for special pricing, free shipping, signed copies, and a free sample

21 Nov 2020 Update: The pre-launch offer has finished, so normal book pricing now applies. But you can still download the free sample pages from the book, and overseas readers can still order two or more copies delivered to the same address to get free shipping. Click for details.


Take advantage of these pre-order offers as we get close to the launch of the new Volume 4: 

Special price

The book's list price will be HK$168, but regular readers can pre-order copies until 20 November at HK$150.

Please click a "Pre-order ..." link below to pre-order your book(s). Payment can be made online using a Paypal account or a credit card. Readers with a Hong Kong dollar bank account also have the option to pay by bank transfer, or HK$ cheque.


Free shipping

All deliveries to Hong Kong addresses are shipped free of charge.

Overseas orders are very welcome. If you live overseas, you can also get free shipping if you order two or more of Gwulo's books to be delivered to the same address: if you can combine an order with a friend, or buy an extra copy to give as a gift, shipping is free. (Copies of Volume 1,  Volume 2, and Volume 3 also count, so order two or more copies of any combination of Volumes 1, 2, 3, or 4 and you'll get free international shipping.)

Overseas orders for a single book pay the airmail postage. The cost of airmail varies by country, and will be shown to you before you confirm payment for your order.


Signed copies

If you'd like me to sign your copy to be signed, that's easy to arrange. When you've placed your order you'll receive an order confirmation email. Please reply to that with a message as follows:

If you'd like ... you send the reply ... and I'll write ...
Standard signature Please sign With best wishes,
Standard + names Please sign to Emma and John To Emma and John,
with best wishes,
Custom message Please sign: A gift from Ann and Charles A gift from Ann and Charles


Free sample

You've seen the cover...

Gwulo book - Volume 4 - front cover

... but if you'd like a look inside please download a PDF sample of pages from the book.



Q. When will the orders be mailed out?

A. The original delivery date was 24 November, but printing has gone very smoothly and yesterday I heard the good news that the books will be delivered this Friday, 13 November. We'll get to work packing and mailing your orders as soon as the books arrive.


Q. So will they arrive in time for Christmas?

A.1 All Hong Kong orders will arrive before Christmas.

A.2 Most Overseas orders will arrive before Christmas. Though airmail was suspended for a while due to COVID-19, it has been restored to most countries, including Australia, UK, and USA. You can check if airmail is available to your country in the latest "Types of services currently available to overseas destinations" document on the Hongkong Post website.

For countries where airmail services are still suspended, e.g. Canada or New Zealand, your order will be sent by surface mail, typically taking 7-10 weeks to arrive.


Q. How can I add the other Volumes to my order?

A. Please click any of the links below to add earlier volumes to your order:

If you need to make any corrections, you can make changes to the content of your shopping cart. If all is correct, please go to the Checkout page to complete your order.


If anything isn't clear, or if you have any other questions, please let me know in the comments below.



PS If you have friends who like old Hong Kong but may not be subscribers to Gwulo's newsletter, please could you let them know about this offer?

Gwulo book - Volume 4 - back cover


Subscribe to Gwulo: Old Hong Kong RSS