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'.

Birthday Buildings in 2018

It's time for our annual roundup of buildings that celebrate a major birthday this year.


50-year-old buildings:

The "Sincere Insurance Building" name caught my eye, as I worked in an office there in the 1990s. One end of the building faces Queensway, making it a prime site for large advertisements - see the red advert in the photo below.

Queensway 1980
Queensway 1980, by Leroy W. Demery, Jr.


The buildings on the right in the photo above were originally part of Victoria Barracks, and had belonged to the British Army. In 1968, the Army had recently given up a strip of land at the western edge of the Victoria Barracks area. That land was home to the Murray Barracks, and ran between Garden Road to the west, and the Albany Nullah to the east.

The new Murray Building was built on part of that land, with the new Cotton Tree Drive running uphill nearby. The Albany Nullah seems to have vanished, but it still exists - it was covered over, and Cotton Tree Drive was built on top of it. Here's a view up Cotton Tree Drive in the 1970s, with Murray Building on the right.

Cotton Tree Drive.JPG
Cotton Tree Drive.JPG, by Quicksilver


We have to leave Hong Kong Island, and head to the New Territories for the most memorable of the new buildings from 1968

New on Gwulo: 2018, week 43

A summary of what's new and updated on Gwulo:



Looking for information about:

  • Charles Henry HART [1808-1867], one of the successful bidders for marine lots during the first auction of Hong Kong land in 1841
  • Albert JILLOTT [????-????], a prison officer in Hong Kong for over 30 years
  • Stanley Camp internee William TODD [1916-????]
  • Looking for photos of Terry (Taff) Evans who was a corporal in the British Army in Hong Kong in 1959-61
  • Looking for Alison Ayres, who taught horse-riding in Hong Kong in the 1980s


Gwulo happy hour meetup next Tuesday, 6th November - all welcome

Click for details.


Memories of:

Help choose the cover for the second Gwulo book

Update, 26 Oct 2018: And the winner is ...

... the rickshaw cover.

Thank you to everyone who voted. Across Facebook, Gwulo and Twitter there were a total of 200 votes, with 78 for the children cover and 122 for the rickshaw cover.

Whichever photo you preferred, you can take a closer look when you see the book. Both photos are shown there, enlarged as double-page spreads.


The layout of the new book's cover will be very similar to the first book, but this time using a blue colour instead of red.

I've narrowed down the choice of photograph to these two, and would like your help to decide which one to use. Imagine you see the cover on a shelf in a bookstore, or on a website. Which one are you more likely to pick up to take a closer look?

Please leave a comment below with the word children or rickshaw to vote for your choice. (Or if you're reading this in the newsletter, please vote by reply email.) Here they are ...

'Children' cover:

'Children' front cover for Gwulo's Volume 2


'Rickshaw' cover:

'Rickshaw' front cover for Gwulo's Volume 2

Direction slabs along the Gin Drinkers Line

If you go walking in the hills behind Kowloon, you'll likely have seen raised, concrete slabs like these:

GDL direction slab


In this guest post, Rob Weir explains their background, and gives us a map of the 70+ slabs he's found in that area.




The slabs were erected to help British troops find their way around a defensive system of trenches, lookouts and pillboxes, collectively known as the Gin Drinkers Line.

A document in the HKPRO (I think it was part of HKMS 100), dates their construction to late 1941:

New on Gwulo: 2018, week 40

A summary of what's new and updated on Gwulo:



Looking for information about:


Gwulo lunch on Thursday, 25th October - all welcome

Annelise has arranged a lunch get-together for Gwulo's readers and contributors.
Click for details.


Memories of:


Subscribe to Gwulo: Old Hong Kong RSS