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Kind regards,


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

19th-century Hong Kong in engravings

Engravings in the illustrated newspapers were the first view most British people had of Hong Kong in the 1800s. Here is a small set I bought last year, starting with one from the weekly "Illustrated London News" (ILN).

Dec 27, 1856 - The Illustrated London News

Victoria Harbour & Murray House



It's quite random whether or not we get to see the text that originally accompanied the illustration. In many cases the engraving was cut out of the newspaper without any of the text, but sometimes you get the whole page, text and all. In this case we're lucky as although the text was on a separate page, whoever cut out the engraving also cut out the text and kept them together:


We have to thank a Correspondent for the clever sketch of this new Colony, engraved in Supplement, page 662. The view shows

1920s Hong Kong photo album

Thanks to Jan Schultheiss, who has been uploading photos that his grandfather, P. Marks, took in the 1920s. Mr Marks worked in the Hong Kong branch of a Dutch bank, the Nederlandsch-Indische Handelsbank, but in his free time he was a keen amateur photographer.

Many of his photos show views that are new to me. So, although I've often seen this old gun near the upper entrance to the HKU campus:

Gun at University Lodge


... his is the first photo I've seen of the gun in its original condition, when it was installed in the Victoria Battery:

Old gun, November 1925


As another example, we already have photo with a distant view of this building, but this is the first close-up I've seen of Friston Cottage. It looks as though it belongs in the English countryside, but instead it stood at the western end of May Road.

Friston Cottage


He also captured a couple of the major events of the 1920s. This photo shows the fire that destroyed the North wing of the Hongkong Hotel:

2017 Kai Tak

Greetings from sunny San Po Kong!

We moved flats last weekend, so after 25 years living in and around Kennedy Town on Hong Kong island, it's time to get to know Kowloon better. The new flat looks out over the old Kai Tak Airport site, so let me show you the view, and a few points of interest.


Looking northeast

Looking northeast over Prince Edward Rd E & Kai Tak


That photo looks northeast along Prince Edward Road East, with old Kai Tak on its right. Despite all the construction underway on the airport site, traces of its history remain. The road I've marked (A) above is an example - it's named Concorde Road.

Concorde's first visit to Hong Kong-harbour low level fly-by-1976
Concorde's first visit to Hong Kong-harbour low level fly-by-1976, by IDJ


Looking south

Looking south over Prince Edward Rd E & Kai Tak

This view looking south towards Hong Kong island gives the best idea of the size of the site. It's mostly just an expanse of flat ground, but the old runway (B) is still clear to see. There is a better selection of landmarks if we turn further to the right.

Early 20th-century postcards of Hong Kong

About 20-30 years ago, when postcards were still widely used, I had a deal with a friend that we'd send each other the least attractive postcards we could find: 1960s concrete shopping centres were a popular choice! This view from 1900s Hong Kong would have been a fine contender:

Jubilee Road


It's not obvious why a tourist would want this card, but Jubilee Road was actually a popular destination. Despite the unattractive card, in real life it was famed for its beauty. Here's a description from a 1924 guide book:

Some new old photos (but are they any good?)

We'll start with some photos and postcards I bought last month. Then as I've been arguing with the book designer about what makes a good photo, we'll take a look at that too.

The seven photos are all the small type that were typically sold to tourists to go in to their photo album. In this case I don't see any sign that the photos were mounted, so the original owner probably just kept them loose. (As always, you can click on any photo to see a larger copy you can zoom in to.)

Chinese junk
Chinese junk


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