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.

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

Kind regards,

David

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

7. Home at 111 Ki Lung Street, Hong Kong (1949-1955)

This week's newsletter is a guest post from Peter Yee, an extract from his colourful memories of growing up in Hong Kong in the 1950s.


7.1 My Neighbourhood 

Ki Lung Street was quiet with almost no car traffic during my early years in Hong Kong.  It was two city blocks from the wider Lai Chi Kok Road which handled the bulk of the vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Ki Lung Street view from Portland Street (1965)
Photo 11 Ki Lung Street viewed from Portland Street (1965), by OldTimer

 

This photo was taken from the east end (first street block) of Ki Lung Street looking west.  My home was two blocks up and on the left.  Although it was taken in 1965, the scene on the left side was very similar to that in 1949.  The street had no parked cars on my block.  By the early 1960s, taller buildings have replaced some of the pre-war shophouses as shown on the right of the photo.

On our walk-out uncovered balcony, father had a large

New on Gwulo: 2020, week 32

I've listed some of the recent highlights below, but you can visit the What's New page at any time to see all the latest additions to the site.

 

General

 


 

Book news

  • UK readers: Gwulo's books are now available at Amazon.co.uk and are eligible for Prime shipping. (Affiliate link - It doesn't affect the price you pay, but if you order via this link Amazon will pay a small commission to Gwulo.)
    Gwulo's books now at Amazon.co.uk
     
  • Last week's newsletter about the new book Crime, Justice and Punishment in Colonial Hong Kong had a good response. In the newsletter I thanked all the contributors who helped me searching for images. I'd also like to extend my thanks to The Hong Kong Jockey Club for sponsoring the book project, and to Hong Kong University Press for the high quality of the printed images.
    From the back cover
    From the book's back cover

 


 

Places

Crime, Justice and Punishment in Colonial Hong Kong

Way back in January 2013, I sent out a newsletter titled: Please help - looking for old photos of the Central Police Station compound. The photos were for a new book, and I smile now to see I wrote, "The finished books won't start appearing until next year". The project took much longer than that, and at times I wondered if we'd ever see the book in print. Over seven years later I'm happy to see that the book has just been published:

Front cover

 

The book documents the history of the Central Police Station, Central Magistracy, and Victoria Gaol. My job was to track down the pictures to illustrate it.

 

Pictures

May Holdsworth, leader of the project, was clear from the start that the book would have pictures throughout, not just a few pages of photos in the middle as an afterthought. May also encouraged me to find as much colour as possible, as old photos and engravings tend to be in black and white, which can get a bit monotonous.

We ended up with a collection of over 1,000 candidates, but even after narrowing them down the book still has over 200 pictures. That's a lot of pictures - open the book at random, and you'll almost always see at least one - and many of them are published for the first time. Here are some examples, grouped by their source.

 

Public Archives and Collections

Archives are the obvious place to look for old pictures, and the UK's National Archives (UKNA) are always a rich source of material about Hong Kong's history. The UKNA is also a joy to visit, as despite the enormous size of their collection, whatever you order is soon delivered for viewing.

This document was the first surprise from the UKNA. It shows

Book type: 

New on Gwulo: 2020, week 30

I've listed some of the recent highlights below, but you can visit the What's New page at any time to see all the latest additions to the site.

 

General

  • We had several interesting replies to last week's photo of the sewing lady, adding more photos of similar scenes and confirming the location was Wyndham Street.
  • Nona has uploaded two examples of the documents sent to thank uninterned members of the public who helped POWs and internees during the war:
    • letter.jpg
    • lettertomom.jpg
  • Alfred has uploaded a rare set of maps, drawn by his father Charlie LEUNG Chung-Yee in August 1945. Charlie was a skilled draughtsman, working for the BAAG. I've included one example below, then here's the link to the index and all 14 detailed maps.
    • Chung Wan
  • Frode introduces his book, Fighting for Two Kings: 'a book about the Danish community in Hong Kong in the 1930's and 1940's as well as Danish volunteers in the defence of Hong Kong 1941 is now available also in English.'

 


 

Places

A Chinese woman sewing

A Chinese woman sewing

 

Who: As the postcard's title says, it shows a Chinese woman, sitting on a stool on the pavement, busy sewing.

Woman sewing

 

She offered a mobile repair service, using the shoulder pole leaning on the wall behind her to carry her material, thread, needles, etc., from place to place. I've seen other postcards showing sewing women, so they must have been a common sight in Hong Kong at the time, but I haven't found much information about the ladies. There's a brief mention in

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