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.

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Kind regards,


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

"Hong Kong Mary's Sampan Girl"

"Hong Kong Mary's Sampan girl"

Where: The distinctive building at top left shows we're looking at the Kowloon Wharves, site of today's Ocean Centre and Harbour City. It also places the ship alongside the No. 2 Pier.

Here's an aerial view of the area from 1935, showing the piers along the eastern shore of Tsim Sha Tsui. The tower seen in the main photo is just to the right of

New on Gwulo: 2020, week 36

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.






9. Living with Grandparents and Schooling (1955-1964)

In a previous newsletter, Peter Yee described his childhood in Hong Kong up to the year 1955. That was the year he turned 11, and the year his parents and two younger siblings emigrated to Canada. In this issue he continues the story, taking us up to 1964 when he made his own emigration to rejoin his family in Canada.

9.1 Ki Lung Street, 111, 2nd Floor (Level 3) 

My daily routine at first remained unchanged, as I still went to Tak Yan College on class days. The big change is that there are now two elderly persons caring for me, and no more family outings like movies, swim at a beach, and visiting my parents' friends. Adult supervision was minimal and no more reminders to read books. Communications with grandparents were infrequent, and when it happened they were short. There was not much in common that we would talk about, and our age gap did not help. Besides,

New on Gwulo: 2020, week 34

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.





Book news

  • New review of Volume 3
    • Thanks to Veronica Pearson for her generous review of the latest Gwulo book. An excerpt: "What is so extraordinary about Bellis is the detail and knowledge that he brings to such a wide array of subjects as he decodes for us, in the most accessible ways, what we are actually looking at. There are examples on virtually every page of the book; but I have chosen one that demonstrates Bellis’ ability to draw readers into a subject even when they expect it to be boring; in my case Photograph 10—The Naval Yard. First he ..."
    • The full review will appear in the latest Journal of the RAS HK. The Journal is one of the perks of membership of the RAS HK.
    • This is the not-as-boring-as-it-looks photo of the Naval Yard ...
      c.1890 View of Naval Yard, harbour & TST from Scandal Point
    • ... that you can read all about in Old Hong Kong Photos and The Tales They Tell, Volume 3.
  • Volume 4 is moving along
    • We've really missed not being able to visit the UK to see friends and family this summer, but a sliver lining has been getting a head start on the latest book. I finished the first draft of the text last week, and that's away with Ross (MrTall if you remember Batgung) to benefit from his editing and extra polish.
      While the text is being edited I've switched attention to the book's photos, working on them in Photoshop to get them looking their best. I was really happy with the way that the printed photos look in Volume 3, so I'm aiming for as good or better in Volume 4.




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


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