Welcome to Gwulo.com, 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'.

1906 Building destroyed by typhoon

Jebsen & Co. Godown at West Point after the 1906 Typhoon

When: This photo was taken shortly after a devastating typhoon hit Hong Kong on the 18th of September, 1906.


Where: The photo was commercially produced, with a caption on the bottom. Unfortunately it was trimmed before it was put in the photo album, but we can still make out some of the words:

C.S.M. John Osborn, V.C.

This week's newsletter was written by the late Dan Waters:

Largely, I suppose, because I saw action and four years of active service myself, in the Western Desert and Italy, in World War Two, when I have walked over the hills of Hong Kong and have seen the fortifications and foxholes, I have often pondered on the battle for this “outpost of Empire”, in December 1941. When I joined the Hong Kong Government, in 1954, the war had not been over very long, and it was still the backs of people’s minds. Time has passed quickly however, as it always does here, and there is a danger the brave deeds will pass into oblivion.

While the courage shown by Company Sergeant Major John Robert Osborn, Victoria Cross, has been recorded, few people, I suspect, know much about the man. Indeed it was not until 1982 that I learned he was born in

1950s Hong Kong childhood

Chris Hall spent three years here in the 1950s, and has kindly shared these family photos:

This train is on its way to Red China

This train is on its way to Red China


Castle Peak Hotel

Castle Peak Hotel


On a forbidden road in Shatin. Very pretty. By a reservoir + Government property.

On a forbidden road in Shatin. Very pretty. By a reservoir + Government property.


New Territories. Rice + Wheat fields.

New Territories. Rice + Wheat fields.





19 Mile Beach. New Territories.

19 Mile Beach. New Territories.


Billy Tinglers

Billy Tinglers

The captions come from the notes that Chris's mother Isabel Lily (known as "Billy") wrote on the back of each photo. In late 2003 she also wrote down her memories of those years in Hong Kong, which you can read below.

Her story begins

1902: "The Queen Victoria Jubilee Monument and the Hongkong Club"

The Queen Victoria Jubilee Monument and the Hongkong Club

Where: It's the view across Statue Square [1], with Queen Victoria's statue [2] in the foreground, and the Hongkong Club [3] beyond.

Between the two we can see an untidy patch of land. It would get worse before it got better, as by 1909 the area had acquired a brick oven, two simmering cauldrons of coal tar, and ...

"an unsightly conglomeration of ramshackle and tattered matsheds, piles of rotting poles, odds and ends of old timbers, untidy heaps of granite chippings, weed-grown stacks of bricks; cook-houses— other outhouses —all the stagnant squalor which collects in a builder’s yard. [4]"

By then the end was in sight, and once the nearby building projects were completed, the area was finally grassed over.

Hongkong Club & Queen Victoria's statue

After the First World War, it was chosen as the

2017-02 RTHK's Hong Kong Heritage - Dan Waters' books at 41 Conduit Road

Gwulo takes to the airwaves! Annemarie Evans invited me on to her show, Hong Kong Heritage, where we chatted about the late Dan Waters' book collection, sidetracked into hunting & trapping in Hong Kong, then returned to Dan's apartment and its connection to the film Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.

Here is the link to listen to the show: 

Below I've included links to more information about the topics we discussed, with the time as it is shown on the podcast player. Then at the bottom of the page is the usual round-up of new pages and questions on Gwulo this week.

Thanks to Annemarie for inviting me on to her show. I see her list of past 'Hong Kong Heritage' episodes has a new look with a short description and a photo for each one, making it much easier to browse through and find something that you're interested in: Visit the RTHK website to view the list of episodes.

Regards, David

More information about the topics discussed



Subscribe to Gwulo: Old Hong Kong RSS