Old HK in Taipei

I spent last weekend in Taipei, and before I went I asked in the Forum for any recommendations of Gwulo-y places to visit. Thomas replied suggesting Fort San Domingo in Tamsui. It's easy to get to from Taipei, so that's where we went.

We picked up this map from the information office near Tamsui station. A Hong Kong name caught my eye - can you spot it?

Tamsui map #1

A wander through Happy Valley's history

On Monday morning I met Phil at Times Square, then off we set to see what we could find. We were heading for Fung Fai Terraces as an appetiser, to look at the old buildings there.

We followed Wong Nai Chung Road along the west side of the racecourse - the side where all the cemeteries are. The road was widened when the Aberdeen Tunnel flyover was built in the 1970s, pushing back the cemeteries' walls. This gateway at St. Michael's cemetery looks as though it pre-dated the move, and was successfully dismantled then rebuilt afterwards:


St. Michael's Cemetery


Here's a sleepy view of this area from the 1920s:


c.1925 Happy Valley


When we reached the Sanatorium, we followed the road round to the right, till we came to Village Road. On the right-hand side of the road is a big old retaining wall, with a gap in the middle and stairs leading up either side. Here's a view from the mid-1920s, showing the wall and stairs (the photo shows it from the opposite direction, so here the walls and stairs are on the left of the road):


Fung Fai Terrace


Above the wall are the Fung Fai Terraces, built on two levels. The buildings on the lower level are all complete in this photo. Behind them you can see another retaining wall and stairs, with the upper terrace formed, but nothing built yet. 

The buildings on the lower terrace were completed first, but also re-developed first. Today only #2 remains from the original lower terrace buildings, just one half of one building. Several old buildings are still standing on the upper terrace though, so that's where we went.

From Village Road we climbed the

Hong Kong in colour

This newsletter usually features a black & white photo, so let's see some colour for a change.


That's how they were described on eBAY when I bought them.

A good thing about slides is they often have a date printed on the cardboard frame. These show "AUG 69", when the Peak still towered over Central's buildings ...


1969. Hong Kong island from across the harbour


... and today's Admiralty district was still very low-rise.


c.1968 view of Central & Admiralty


We'll see plenty more views from the harbour, as there is at least one in every tourist's album! Other popular scenes come from the standard tour around Hong Kong island, or a day trip to the New Territories:


Old ladies in walled village


Looking at the walls, I guess these ladies were photographed in Kam Tin walled village.

If we're lucky, we also get a couple of shots like these that are different from the usual tourist scenes. Any thoughts on where they were taken?


Street scene


Densely packed buildings in Kowloon



Our next photographer likes construction. We still get

"I got married in King George VI's bedroom"

If you're looking for a memorable wedding day, Mabel Large's story is hard to beat!

Here's Mabel a few weeks before the wedding, when she was still Mabel Redwood:

Mabel Redwood & Mr A Raven in Stanley Camp

The photo was taken Stanley Civilian Internment Camp, not long after liberation in August 1945.

Mabel and over three thousand others had been interned there by the Japanese since 1942. During those lean years, very few photos had been taken. So when the British fleet arrived to liberate Hong Kong, the Navy's photographers made up for lost time. The press were hungry for news and photos of the former captives, and not just in Britain - this photo went to America, see the note on the back marked

c.1928 View from the Peak over Central and the harbour

c.1928 View from the Peak over Central and the harbour

Where: No prizes for identifying the location of this one - we're up on the Peak looking out over Central and across the harbour to TST. It's been a popular subject for photos over the years, so I like to compare photos from different years to see how the view changes.

When: Look at the junction of Pedder Street and Des Voeux Road, and you'll see an empty spot where a building has been demolished. Here's a closer look at that section of the photo, with the site of the missing building marked in red.

Pedder St / DVRC / Ice House St / QRC

It was the


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