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.

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.

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Kind regards,


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

New on Gwulo: 2018, week 36

A summary of what's new and updated on Gwulo:



  • The Survey & Mapping Office (SMO) have put their collection of historic maps and aerial photos online for all to access. They're a great resource for researching old Hong Kong, so thanks to the SMO for making them available and fingers crossed other government departments follow their lead. Thanks to contributors Tymon for letting us know, and to Herostratus who has written a tutorial to help you get started.
  • Next month, map enthusiasts from around the world will be in Hong Kong for the International Map Collectors Society Symposium 2018, which will be held at the Maritime Museum. They have a programme of speakers giving talks on the subject. 
  • The Symposium is co-hosted by HKUST. I didn't realise they had resources about local history, but their Special Collections website has some very interesting old photos, as well as old maps, viewable online in high resolution.



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Memories of:

1951 Ruins on Mount Austin

1951 Ruins on Mount Austin

Where: This view isn't difficult to locate, as though over 60 years have passed, the road in the foreground looks much the same today. (E-mail subscribers, please click to view the web version of this page so you can see the modern view below.)


Who: Today the road is a popular family walk, leading down from the Peak to the reservoir at Pok Fu Lam. Most people walk the road in daytime, but if you choose a dry, dark evening after sunset in summer, you'll likely be rewarded by seeing fire flies in the bushes along the way.

The downhill direction is obviously the easier way to go, but the family in this photo have chosen the more strenuous uphill climb. The men are wearing jackets, so hopefully it was a cool day.



What: The "ruins" in the title both have a link to men in uniform. Army first - they were the residents of the building on the left for many years. It is the

New on Gwulo: 2018, week 35

A summary of what's new and updated on Gwulo:


What's On

  • Howard Elias is leading a tour of the Jewish Cemetery in Happy Valley on Sunday afternoon, September 16th. This is a repeat of last year's tour, which I enjoyed very much. Click for details and how to reserve a place.



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Memories of:

"View of Central Harbour from West Point"

"View of Central Harbour from West Point"

Where: The clue to this photo's location is the new-looking four-storey building in the centre, and in particular its shape: there aren't many triangle-shaped buildings along Hong Kong island's north shore.

There is one at the start of

New on Gwulo: 2018, week 33 - Part 2

Here's the second half of the summer update:

A book I've been waiting for impatiently is finally available: Barbara Anslow's wartime diaries are now available in print, under the title Tin Hats and Rice.

Barbara had just had her 23rd birthday when the Japanese attacked Hong Kong in 1941. Her diary follows her through the battle & surrender, the long internment, and the eventual liberation in 1945.

Barbara has added comments throughout the book, explaining any events and descriptions that might not make immediate sense to modern-day readers. She has also added material from her mother's and sister's accounts of the events, and rounded it off with an index of all the people mentioned.

Tin Hats and Rice will be invaluable reading for anyone who had a family member imprisoned by the Japanese, or who wants to learn more about Hong Kong's wartime history.

More information:


Other news




1956 Kai Tak Airport
1956 Kai Tak Airport, by Eternal1966



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