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

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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



Who were the family in these photos?

Submitted by David on Sun, 02/25/2024 - 11:00
People at Deep Water Bay golf course

We've seen this group before - I used this photo of them in my latest book. From left to right we have Cedric, Maud, Father, Lewis, Mr Hosie, Mrs Duncan, and Annie. The photo is dated to 1 Jan 1916, and shows them taking a break from playing golf at Deepwater Bay.

I bought it on eBay as part of a bundle of this family's photos. Let's take a look at their other photos and see what else we can find out about them.

Living & working

In the book I'd identified the men in the group as working for the Dock Company at Hung Hom, as Jurors Lists from that time show both Mr Hosie and Mr Duncan were working there. None of the other photos show men at work, but several show people in front of homes.

Many of the Dock Company's men lived in company accommodation on the site - did the family live there too? Here's a photo from a different source that shows the Company's quarters along Bulkeley Street in Hung Hom.

Kowloon - Unknown
Quarters, by hfsiu


One of the family's photos shows Annie in front of a building that is certainly very solid, but isn't an exact match for the quarters shown above:

New on Gwulo: 2024, week 07

Submitted by David on Sun, 02/18/2024 - 12:00

What's new and updated on the Gwulo website:



Hong Kong history galore!

  • UK readers, if you have a family member who was in Hong Kong in WW2, check the newly catalogued collection of wartime record cards at the National Archives to see if they have a card for your relative. Read the full story in their article: Life and death in Hong Kong during the Second World War. Thanks to David Wallingford for letting me know about this.
  • Still in the UK, Bristol University's Hong Kong History Centre is producing a series of videos, where they interview different people who are exploring Hong Kong's history. The first two are now online:
    • Video #1: Dr Vivian Kong - this starts with an introduction to the series from Professor Ray Yep, who is the interviewer in these videos. Ray introduces Vivian, and we hear about her journey from Tuen Mun to Bristol, then get in to the meat of her research, looking at Hong Kong in the early 20th century, why local people came to value 'Britishness', and some of the barriers put in place by the British authorities.
    • Video #2 Dr. Kwong Chi Man - here we meet our local champion of Hong Kong's military history. Chi Man talks about how he got interested in the topic, then about his recent book looking at Hong Kongers in the British armed forces - which opens the door to a social history of these people's experiences, and a new view of how people in apparently the same situation could have such different interactions with the British. The video ends with a brief tour of Chi Man's excellent website, The Battle of Hong Kong 1941: A Spatial History Project, which uses digital maps to present the battle in new ways.
  • Back in Hong Kong, on Friday evening I was happy to see Patricia O'Sullivan who had just arrived from the airport. During this visit Patricia is giving a series of four talks - details on her website. I've already signed up for her free talk on 2 March at the Maritime Museum, Fire-fighting on Land and Sea.
  • I'm sure Patricia will have her books for sale at the talks, so it's a good chance to highlight Zolima's recent review of her second book: Hong Kong reads: Women, Crime and a Window Into Hong kong History.
  • Zolima regularly publish articles about Hong Kong's history, and a recent one from Annemarie Evans about collectors caught my eye. Many collectors become experts on the history of the items they collect, and we're lucky to have had several collectors share their knowledge here on Gwulo. In her article, Hong Kong Collectors: It Started With A (VW) Bug, Annemarie meets Andrew Ng to learn about his collection of anything and everything related to Hong Kong's motoring history.
  • Finally, on Annemarie's weekly Hong Kong Heritage radio show, I enjoyed the recent episode where she met Vaudine England to hear about why archiving information - whether at the family or business level - is so important to preserving history.




New on Gwulo: 2024, week 04

Submitted by David on Sun, 01/28/2024 - 12:00

What's new and updated on the Gwulo website:



Updates on the new Gwulo book

Some good news with Volume 5 is that airmail services are working well again. The last few overseas orders have gone to customers in Australia, UK, and the US, and all have arrived in under two weeks. The last few years have seen all sorts of headaches with overseas mail, so it is great to see shipping times get back to their pre-Covid standards.

Thank you to two of those overseas readers for their reviews. Patricia O'Sullivan has posted her review of Volume 5 to her website, and also lets us know her favourite photo in the book. For the record, my favourite is this one at the bottom of page 21:

1920s Wandering Shoemaker


Thanks also to new reader jenchou, who dived in with a purchase of the full set of five books:

The existence of the 5 volumes of Old Hong Kong Photos and The Tales They Tell came to my attention on Facebook via the Hong Kong - The Past page. I jumped on the website and ordered the books less than a week ago and they were delivered this morning!! So speedy and the books arrived in impeccable condition.

Each book and the photos are most beautifully produced to the highest quality. They worth every single penny!  In the fast changing world and the Hong Kong I knew disappearing fast, to have a glimpse into the old Hong Kong before I was even born keeps Hong Kong alive in my heart.

Closer to home, Hong Kong readers can now find Volume 5 at these additional bookstores:

  • Art & Culture Outreach Books, in Causeway Bay
  • SUP Retail (Hong Kong) Limited, better known by the names of its bookstores: Joint Publishing / Chung Hwa Book Co. / The Commercial Press. They also run an online bookstore, My Book One


And finally, thanks to Jill Fell who has reported the first mistake in Volume 5. If you've noticed any other mistakes, please could you add a comment for each mistake with details? Then I can be sure to get them all corrected when it is time for a reprint.