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.

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'.

1960s Seafront at Sai Ying Pun

1960s Seafront at Sai Ying Pun

Where: Over at the right edge of the photo there are two spires.

University spires

They belong to HKU's main building.

1912 HKU
1912 HKU, by zhoumeiqing

With the University over to our right, the photographer must be

New on Gwulo: 2018, week 17

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



Looking for information about:

  • Geoff Sugars asks if you recognise anyone in this photo of his christening, taken at St John's Cathedral in 1940:
    • Christening
  • Any info about Kennitt or Kenneth Stephen Knight ?


Memories of:

New on Gwulo: 2018, week 16

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



Looking for information about:


Memories of:

British army blockhouses from the early twentieth century

Though little remains of these structures, Rob Weir has managed to piece together their history and locations:

First plans

In 1894, the Hong Kong Defence Plan introduced the use of blockhouses. These were to be used as advanced posts for scouts and signallers, also forming the nucleus of a strong second line as reinforcements were brought up. Thirteen were planned, nine on the Island from the west through south to south east, and four in a line across the Kowloon Peninsula, from approximately Ma Tau Wai in the east to Yau Ma Tei in the west. The defence plan proposed that a type of stone blockhouse be constructed. It further suggests they should be built as far as the foundations and walls in peacetime and, if possible, they be completed before hostilities commence.

They had disappeared from the Island portion of the 1897 Defence Plan, but were still included as “will be constructed” in the Kowloon portion in the 1900 plan. The 1901 plan, revised to include the recently gained New Territories (1898), moved the defence line well north and the Kowloon blockhouses had disappeared. There is no other evidence at present to indicate any were ever built.


The blockhouses are built

A review of the situation in 1911 considered that attacks on the mainland would probably come from either a

New on Gwulo: 2018, week 15

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

The Gwulo book is available again

It's been out of print for the last six weeks, so apologies to everyone who has had to wait for their order. I didn't expect the first 1,000 copies to go out so quickly, and so left it too late to re-order.

The good news is that the second print run was delivered today:

2nd print run of Gwulo books delivered

If you've already ordered, your order has just been mailed out this afternoon.

Or if you've been holding off till the books are available, please go ahead and order a copy of the Gwulo book.

Where have the first 1,000 have gone?

Web / Book stores

  • 75% have been sold via the Gwulo website
  • 25% have gone to local bookstores.

Hong Kong / International

Looking at the books sold via the Gwulo website, the split is

  • 60% to Hong Kong customers
  • 40% to overseas readers.

It's been a lovely surprise to see the first 1,000 head out so quickly, and I'm very pleased to see how much international interest there is in Hong Kong's history. I'll report back on the second 1,000 to let you know if there's any change in how and where they're bought.

Finally, a favour to ask - if you know anyone you think might enjoy the book, please could you send them the link to download the free sample chapters and suggest they take a look:



Looking for information about:

  • Betty Church. She was mentioned in a recent question, and when I listened to an interview about her I found she had led a remarkable life. Can anyone add any more memories & information to her page?
  • Norman Hellevick died on the sea journey taking former Stanley internees from Hong Kong to the UK after liberation. Bob thinks Norman died from diabetic shock. Can anyone confirm?


Memories of:


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