Welcome to Gwulo

Here you'll find over 50,000 pages about old Hong Kong to explore, including over 30,000 photos. The content is added by a friendly community of people who enjoy sharing what we know about Hong Kong's history, and you are very welcome to join us.

Kind regards, David

P.S. To receive more old Hong Kong photos and stories, please sign up for our free weekly newsletter.

New on Gwulo: 2024, week 15

Submitted by David on Sun, 04/14/2024 - 12:30

What's new and updated on the Gwulo website:



Gwulo's news

  • There's a Gwulo meetup lunch this Tuesday, 16 April, all welcome. We usually get around 6-12 people show up to have a chat about Hong Kong's history. Click here for details, and please let Annelise know by Whatsapp if you're joining us.

  • Tickets are selling steadily for the Gwulo's Farewell talks on the 8th & 22nd of May - by Friday one quarter of the seats were already filled. You can book tickets via the EventBrite website.

  • We're the subject of the next video interview from Bristol University's Hong Kong History Centre, Video #5: David Bellis, Gwulo.com. It has had a good reception so far, with over 16,000 views.
  • I've edited the automatic subtitles to the recent talk, Who in these 1880s-1950s photos called Hong Kong 'home'?, to correct some mistakes and make them easier to read. You can see the updated video & subtitles on Youtube.
  • Thank you to everyone who came along to my recent talk at the USRC showing Hong Kong photos with a military connection, and to the Orders & Medals Research Society (OMRS) for arranging it. You can read their write-up of the event on the OMRS website.



Gwulo's plans for 2024

Submitted by David on Mon, 04/08/2024 - 18:00

The big change for the Bellis family in 2024 will be our move in July, leaving Hong Kong to go and live in the UK. Here's a look at how that affects this year's plans for Gwulo.


  • First half of 2024
    • Farewell talk
    • Upgrade the website software
    • Relocate to the UK
  • Second half of 2024
    • Will there be any effects on the Gwulo website?
    • London talk
  • Medium term
    • New website features
    • Try videos
  • Long term
    • Passing on the baton
    • Keeping the data safe



1.1 Farewell talk

Before we leave I'd like to give one last talk, looking at some of the highlights since I posted my first page about Hong Kong's history back in 2006.

I'll show some of my favourite photos and tell their tales, and we'll revisit some of the other stories which Gwulo has been involved with that I've found most memorable. I'll also take us on a quick whistle-stop tour of how the website has changed over the years.

We've booked two theatres that have sharp projectors and tiered seating, so that everyone gets a clear view of the photos:

  • 8 May, 7:30 pm - Lecture hall, HK Science Museum, TST - $150 / $75 - Book tickets
  • 22 May, 8 pm - Louis Koo Cinema, HK Arts Centre, Wanchai - $200 / $100 - Book tickets

As the Science Museum's lecture hall seats well over 200, and the Louis Koo Cinema seats over 100, I'm a bit nervous they'll look empty! Please help fill them up by letting any friends who are interested in Hong Kong history know about this talk.

1.2 Upgrade the website software

Meanwhile, down in the boiler room ...

New on Gwulo: 2024, week 12

Submitted by David on Wed, 03/20/2024 - 23:00

What's new and updated on the Gwulo website:

Gwulo's talks

  • On Tuesday next week (26 Mar) I'll give a new talk, using old photos to investigate Hong Kong's military history. The venue is a perfect fit for the topic, as we'll be at the United Services Recreation Club (USRC) in Jordan - the club opened in 1911 to offer recreational facilities to the British armed services. The talk is hosted by the local branch of the Orders & Medals Research Society: you'll find full details of the talk on their website.

    If you'd like to attend please click here to contact their Hon. Secretary, Martin Heyes, by e-mail <martin.heyes@gmail.com> and make your reservation (and also to make sure that seats are still available).

  • Last week's talk, Who in these 1880s-1950s photos called Hong Kong 'home'?, was recorded and can be viewed online at Youtube or Facebook (skip ahead to 1:05 to go to the start of the talk).

    Thank you to Gary at the Vibe book and music shop in Silvermine Bay for hosting the event, and to Phil Whelan for managing the multiple microphones and video streams to produce the recording shown above.

    I'd also given that talk a few days earlier, to members and guests of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong. The last few attendees arrived soon after I took this photo, so we had a full house:

    The audience at last week's talk to the RAS


  • Looking further ahead, I'll be giving another new talk in May, first on the 8th, then again on the 22nd. It'll take us through the last 18 years of running a Hong Kong history website, showing some of my favourite photos and finds, and also sharing my favourite stories - both stories of Hong Kong's history, and some of the moving personal stories we've heard. 

    The talks in May will be a bit different as we've booked the venues ourselves for the first time. Both venues have large screens and theatre-style seating, perfect for showing high-resolution photos at their best!

    Booking details will follow in early April, but please keep the dates free as I'd love to see you there.





Free Gwulo talk tomorrow, online and in-person

Submitted by David on Fri, 03/15/2024 - 08:57

Overseas readers, here's your chance to see a Gwulo talk live.

And for local readers, if you couldn't get tickets to last night's talk, there's another chance to see it tomorrow at VIBE on Lantau.

See you there!

20240316 Talk Flyer


The talk begins at 2:30 PM on Saturday 16th March, Hong Kong time (see the time in your timezone).

In person:

  • No registration required, just come along to the Vibe Book and Music Shop at: 

    Shop E, Silver Centre, Silvermine Bay, Lantau Island. (Map)


  • Open Vibe's Facebook Live page in your web browser a few minutes before the talk begins, then when the broadcast starts a pop-up window will appear that shows the live video.

New on Gwulo: 2024, week 09

Submitted by David on Sun, 03/03/2024 - 12:00

What's new and updated on the Gwulo website:


  • Last week's newsletter, Who were the family in these photos?, had some great responses: Gwulo's readers identified the family and the buildings in the photos, then to round it off we heard from a descendant of the family who has added extra information. You can read them all in the comments to the newsletter.
  • The RAS is now taking bookings for my talk on Thursday 14 March, where I'll show photos of Hong Kong's people taken in the 1880s-1950s, and tell their stories.
    It'll be held at the Visual Arts Centre on Kennedy Road, which is an excellent venue for viewing old photos - it has a large screen, the projector gives a sharp image, plus it has theatre-style seating so everyone can see the screen clearly. The RAS website has details of the talk and how to book.
  • The jurors lists for 1870, 1871, and 1872 are now online, thanks to volunteer wingcli2015's work to type them up. If you can spare 30 minutes to type up a page and help put another year's list online, please follow these instructions.
  • The next video interview from Bristol University's Hong Kong History Centre is online, Video #3: Dr Katon Lee.
    • Growing up with several family members who worked in the clothing and tailoring businesses led Katon to study the history of fashion in Hong Kong, in particular the western men's suit. He discusses the reasons local people wore them, and the success of Hong Kong tailoring with international customers - especially with American soldiers who were here during the Vietnam War.
  • If you have friends who live or grew up near Ping Shan, I wonder if they can recognise this young man - though he will be in his 70s now!
    mr chans son didi in garden by banana tree ping shan 1955
    mr chans son didi in garden by banana tree ping shan 1955, by Curly Watson


  • Readers are looking for:
  • The special offer on the five-volume set of Gwulo's books has proved popular - just over half the orders received in January and February (14 out of 25) have been for the set. As a reminder, if you order the 5-volume set you get 15% off the normal price, and free shipping worldwide