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

1901. The King's birthday salute.

1901. The fleet fire a salute for the King's birthday

When: A note pencilled on the back of the photo explains:

Hongkong. King Edward's birthday 1901. Men of war firing a salute at noon.

His birthday was the 9th of November, so this photo is exactly 113 years old!

Here is the newspaper's description:

King's Birthday

The Warships in the Harbour, the English mail steamer at Kowloon Wharf and some of the German merchant ships were decorated, rainbow-style, to-day in honour of the birthday of King Edward. A salute was fired at noon by the various warships, and the afternoon was observed generally as a holiday. Monday has been fixed as the official holiday, when offices and stores will be closed. A levee will be held in honour of the occasion at Government House, this afternoon at 4 o'clock.

Page 4, China Mail, 9 Nov 1901

Who: A king? How peculiar.

When the British came ashore at Hong Kong in 1841, Queen Victoria was 21 years old and had reigned for just three years. She would reign for another sixty years, until her death on the 22nd of January, 1901 [1].

It must have seemed strange to have a King's birthday after sixty years of "God save the Queen".

What: Royal Navy ships, and lots of them. This was the time when Britain's navy followed the two-power standard, ie the British fleet should be as strong as the combined forces of any two other countries [2].

Here are closer views of the ships (they appear from left to right in the main photo):

Ancient Trail Walk on the 29th November - all welcome

I hope you'll join me for two of my favourite things: a walk in the countryside, and a chance to learn something new about Hong Kong's history.

This ancient trail is reckoned to be one of the oldest man-made structures still surviving in Hong Kong. There isn't a firm date for when it was built, but it is estimated to be several hundred years old. It was certainly already around when the British leased the New Territories, as it appears on their first survey maps of the area.

Boulder Trackway
Boulder Trackway, by Guy Shirra

Long before any railways or highways, these boulder trackways carried people and trade between the main towns and villages. The one we'll follow originally connected

The people & planes of the HKAAF, 1949-53

Thanks to Gordon Randall for sharing these photos with us. They were taken while he was serving with the Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force (HKAAF) between 1949 and 1953.

Hong Kong photos from the 1940s and 50s

Thanks to Siobhan Daiko for sending in these photos. She writes:

I have been sorting through my late mother's photo albums and have found some pics that might be of interest to you.

Happy Valley

Before the war my mother Veronica [1] lived with her parents, Vernon [2] and Doris Walker [3], in Broadwood Rd. They lived at no. 4, I think, and I imagine this would have been the view:

View over Happy Valley
View over Happy Valley

The Peak

Vernon and Doris Walker lived on the Peak in 1941-42 and were there when the Japanese invaded. I think the house was in Plantation Rd., but I can't be sure. Mum died a year ago, unfortunately, so I can't ask her. This was their house:

2014-10 Winner of Heritage Preservation Award

Last night I was very happy to receive the Heritage Preservation Award, one of the SCMP's "The Spirit of Hong Kong Awards" for 2014.


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