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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

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Hidden Kowloon pier played key role in Hong Kong's Dunkirk

Submitted by Admin on Sat, 02/18/2023 - 13:22

If I'm right, this pier is over 99 years old, and is an important part of Hong Kong's wartime history. See what you think ...


After a recent outing to explore Lei Yue Mun, I remembered a mention of a pier in the area, that was used to evacuate troops during the fighting in 1941. I pulled out my copy of Tony Banham's Not the Slightest Chance, and found it in the entries for 12 Dec 1941:

02.00 A and B Company Punjabis leave the Sam Ka Tsun pier.

The area near Yau Tong with all the seafood restaurants is usually called Lei Yue Mun, but the name of the village there is Sam Ka Tsun, or 'Sam Ka Tsuen' on modern maps. The new maps also show a Sam Ka Tsuen Ferry Pier - but that pier is on a modern breakwater built long after 1941. Do any traces of the wartime pier remain?

I turned to the Hong Kong Historic Maps website to see what I could find out about the pier's location and history.

Sam Ka Tsuen in the 1890s / 1900s

This first map is dated 1903. It shows the quarries where Hakka workers excavated granite for building from the cliffs in the area. There are small buildings along the coastline, and what look like small piers extending from the shoreline at several places, but no sign of any roads or a larger pier.

1903 Sam Ka Tsuen

The map is actually a chart for sailors, and as we've seen before, they focus on giving an accurate record of the sea and shoreline, but their record of features on the land is often years out of date. The notes on the map say it came from surveys performed between 1886-1893, with 'Small corrections' in September and December 1903. So I believe the map above shows how the land looked in the early 1890s, when it was still under Chinese control.

The next map shows how the land looked in 1904. This area was now under British control, part of the New Territories they'd leased in 1898. There's a new T-shaped pier that extended into the sea at (A) and a road that led north from the pier, across the water at (B), then uphill to where it splits at a fork (C) before apparently petering out on the hillside.

New on Gwulo: 2023, week 06

Submitted by Admin on Sun, 02/12/2023 - 22:00

What's new and updated on the Gwulo website:


Gwulo in 2023

Submitted by Admin on Sun, 02/05/2023 - 15:03

It's time for the annual round up of what happened last year, and a look at plans for the year ahead. In summary:

  • 2022
    • Gwulo's big news in 2022 was finishing the website upgrade. It took a lot longer than I expected, but it means the site is now in good shape to keep running safely for several more years.
    • Thank you as always to all the patrons who support the costs of running Gwulo, and to all the contributors who have added to Gwulo's record of old Hong Kong during 2022.
  • 2023
    • I'm excited to be taking part in this year's Hong Kong International Literary Festival, leading a guided walk on 9 March and giving an illustrated talk on 11 March. I hope to see you there - please keep the dates free and I'll let you know once tickets go on sale.
    • Volume 5 of my books will be published this year.
    • There won't be any major changes to the website's structure this year, though I'll need to keep working on some remaining bugs, and the regular maintenance still has to be done.
    • I'll be posting to the website about old photos and their stories, and curiosities found while out and about. I hope you will too!


In more detail ....