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'.

1920 Map of Kowloon

A few weeks ago we looked at how the 1920 map of Kowloon was added to Gwulo. Today we'll take a closer look at the map itself, and see what stories it has to tell of early 20th-century Kowloon.

1920 map of Kowloon
1920 map of Kowloon


Tsim Sha Tsui (TST)

The start of the 20th century saw huge changes in TST. Here's how it had looked in 1896.

Gwulo's 2011 Top Ten

A look at the most popular pages that appeared on Gwulo in 2011.


#10 - Inscriptions for cemetery sections 10-16 (25,169 views)

This is one of the longest pages on Gwulo, listing inscriptions that Patricia Lim and Cliff Atkins copied from gravestones in the Hong Kong Cemetery in Happy Valley. It was part of Patricia's research for her excellent book, Forgotten Souls: A Social History of the Hong Kong Cemetery. After the book was published, Patricia generously allowed us to share her research material on Gwulo, so that it can be accessed by the public.

But why would a list of gravestone inscriptions get so many views?

New on Gwulo: 2020, week 18

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



  • Shipping R.S.I.L. Calcutta inspection covers to Hong Kong in the 1950s
  • The Holland Engineering & Trading Co. Ltd. [1965-1993]
  • Nick is looking for information about conditions in Tai Hang during the fighting in December 1941.
  • The 3,000th Gwulo book was sold in the last two weeks. Between bookshops, Amazon, and Gwulo's online shop I don't know which was the order that passed this latest milestone, but in any case it is good news.
    If you're planning to buy a copy of the Gwulo book in Hong Kong, local booksellers have faced a tough time in recent months and would really appreciate your purchase. You can find Gwulo's books in Bleak House Books, Blue Lotus Gallery, Bookazine, Hong Kong Book Centre, HK Maritime Museum Gift Shop, Kelly & Walsh, St John's Cathedral Bookstore, and Swindon Book Co.
    Overseas readers can order from Gwulo's online shop or (affiliate link).
  • Where were the opening scenes of You Only Live Twice filmed? The logo on this gentleman's glass gives the answer:
    You Only Live Twice Opening Credits Royal HK Yacht Club
    You Only Live Twice Opening Credits, by PaulB




Gwulo's 2010 Top Ten

A look at the most popular pages from ten years ago.


#10 - RAF Mount Davis [????-1959] (33,416 views)

If I asked you to name a military site on Mount Davis, you'd probably pick one of the Jubilee or Mount Davis Batteries. But Mount Davis was also home to the RAF, as after WW2 they had a team of men operating a radar station there. 

Mount Davis
Mount Davis, by chadwick1


Several of the men who were at RAF Mount Davis in the 1950s have shared their memories and photos with us on this page: RAF Mount Davis


#9 -  David's email address (36,291 views)

This is the the least exciting of all the Top Ten pages, simply:

David's email address

And despite it being viewed over 36,000 times I certainly haven't received 36,000 email messages - which is probably a good thing!


#8 - Steamliners to Macao (37,349 views)

Photos and memories of the ferries that sailed between Hong Kong and Macau, ships like the

How I added a new old paper map to Gwulo

I've just finished adding another old paper map to Gwulo's online maps. I'll come back to the map itself in a future newsletter, but this week I'll take a look at what went on behind the scenes.


1. Decide on what type of map should be next

We've had several posts about Kowloon sites recently, eg the New Kowloon City Road, and the Kai Tak Reclamation, so I wanted to add another map of Kowloon.

kowloon city 1910 (九龍城1910)
kowloon city 1910 (九龍城1910), by cheung_samfung


Kai Tak Reclamation 1916-1924- Kowloon Bay
Kai Tak Reclamation 1916-1924- Kowloon Bay , by Chinarail (Enhanced photograph reproduced from the Feb.1920 edition of ‘The Far Eastern Review’


We've already got maps showing Kowloon in 1896 and 1957, so a map from sometime in the middle of that range would be ideal.


2. Find a suitable map

The National Archives in the UK have been my


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