Gwulo: Old Hong Kong
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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'.

New on Gwulo: 2019, week 47

A look at what's new on Please click on the photos or the blue links for more information - and please leave a comment if you can add any new details.


  • Several books are in the news...
  • Congratulations to Bob Tatz on last week's launch of his book, Lost in the Battle for Hong Kong, last week. A good-sized crowd made the effort to attend, despite the public transport problems. He told us some of the stories of his time as a young orphan in wartime Hong Kong, and answered the many questions that the audience had for him.
    Bob Tatz at his book launch
  • Les Bird reports that his book, A Small Band Of Men, is now on the bookshelves at Bookazine and other local bookstores. The book looks at the 20 years he spent in the Marine Police in the 1970s-90s. Les has posted chapter 21, Deadly Game, here on Gwulo. In it, he describes how they dealt with the 'Daai Fei', the high-powered speedboats that smugglers used in the 1990s.
    A Small Band of Men in Bookazine
  • The third Gwulo book gathered momentum over the last two weeks. The last two pieces of the layout were finished, the map:
    Map for the new Volume 3
    And the back cover:
    Gwulo book - Volume 3 - back cover
    Then came the last rounds of edits to make the text and photos look their best. They seemed never-ending, but this morning we ran out of things to change and so the layout has gone off to the printer. Later in the week I'll see the proofs for one last check, then once they're signed off I'll get a better idea of when the books will be available. The layout is our best yet, so I'm looking forward to seeing it in print.

  • Do any residents of the Sek Kong Village remember their local newspaper:
    Twisk Times
    Twisk Times, by Patrick Hill
  • Martin asks for help about the Hongkong government's policy regarding the New Territories in the 1970s, as part of his research into Mo Tat Wan village on Lamma.
  • A personal account of the Tyndareus hitting the German mine in 1917.
  • Jill has uploaded a copy of 'Light Airs', the journal of the 4th Submarine Flotilla who were regular visitors to Hong Kong in the 1920s.
  • Details of the Dosei Maru 同生丸, the ship being bombed in this photo:
    American air strike on harbour shipping-16 November 1943
    American air strike on harbour shipping-16 November 1943, by IDJ
  • It was good to catch up with everyone for lunch back on the 7th. Thanks to Annelise for arranging it.




Photo (1): Sulphur Channel

The new Gwulo book begins like this ...


Have you noticed how so many old Hong Kong photos have a harbour-related theme?

The harbour is still important today, but it had a much greater impact on the people shown here, living in Hong Kong in the early 20th century.

Some of the people in Volume 3


Today, almost all

New on Gwulo: 2019, week 45

A look at what's new on Please click on the photos or the blue links for more information - and please leave a comment if you can add any new details.


  • The weather's looking perfect for tomorrow's Gwulo lunchtime meetup (Thursday, 7th November) - we'll be at the outdoor seating area of the American Club in Central, which has great views. Hope to see you there.
  • If any UK readers would like to attend Barbara Anslow's funeral service and celebration of her life next Monday, 11th November, Jill has kindly forwarded these details from Barbara's daughter:
    • Barbara’s funeral will be held at the Sacred Heart and St Francis Catholic Church in Frinton-on-Sea on 11th November at 1.45pm followed by a cremation at Weeley Crematorium at 3.30pm and a celebration of her life at Frinton Cricket Club afterwards.

      Please do let anyone you know who may wish to attend.  We received truly wonderful support from St Helena Hospice based in Colchester who enabled us to care for her at home until the end which was her fervent wish, if you could let everyone know that we would ask in lieu of flowers anyone who wishes to could send a donation on Mum's behalf to this charity.

  • Newspaper clipping of the arrival of British Troops in 1945
  • A look at old bottles found around Hong Kong




Photo (19): Ah-King’s 'Paula'

This week's newsletter is an extract from the new Volume 3 of the Gwulo books. It includes a lovely story from Barbara Anslow, but I'm very sorry to have to pass on the sad news that Barbara passed away earlier this week, peacefully at home.

In memory of

Barbara Anslow (née Redwood) [1918-2019]

Regular readers know Barbara as a frequent and generous contributor to Gwulo. Using extracts from her diaries and letters, combined with her clear memories, she told us about life in Hong Kong as a child in the 1920s, and as a young woman during the long wartime internment at Stanley Camp. She helped countless people learn more about their own family's experiences in Stanley, often knowing the person, and able to share a story or two about them.

Heading into her nineties, Barbara just packed more and more into life, with visits to Buckingham Palace, giving the reading at a national event, interviews, talks, and closing off the decade with the publication of her book about her wartime experiences, Tin Hats and Rice.

Here she is in July of this year - aged 100, but you'd never guess it.

Barbara and Dawn


David, Barbara, Grace, and Doris


Though her mind was as sharp as ever, she told us she wasn't feeling great. Our regular e-mail exchanges slowed down, then stopped last month - her last message ending simply 'am still weary'. So Barbara, take your rest, you deserve it. Your generous and modest nature will continue to inspire, and you leave a wonderful legacy with your book.

Love, David

PS If any readers would like to make a contribution in memory of Barbara, her daughter Maureen asks for donations to the the St Helena Hospice based in Colchester. She says that 'the help we received from them during Mum's final weeks was immeasurable', and hopes that their service can be extended to more families in need. 


Photo (19): Ah-King’s 'Paula'

Boat under construction


Just like the Corinthians’ club, Ah-King’s slipway survived the 1906 typhoon, but couldn’t fight the 1920s reclamation. It stayed in business, though, relocating to the typhoon shelter at Causeway Bay. When that was reclaimed in the 1950s, the slipway moved for the third and final time, just far enough north to get access to the sea again.

Back in 1919, Ah-King pops up in the story of Ming Yuen Gardens, and their first dragon boat races. The Gardens announced that ‘… the judge will be Ah King. Whilst Mr Mok Lin, of Ah King’s slipway, will act as starter.’  Ah-King’s presence was clearly meant to inspire confidence, and shows he was also well-known in the Chinese boating community.

But western-style boats, like this launch under construction, were his main business. I can’t be 100% sure the photo above was taken at Ah-King’s, but the photo below makes it very likely. It shows

New on Gwulo: 2019, week 43

A look at what's new on Please click on the photos or the blue links for more information - and please leave a comment if you can add any new details.






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