Peak Signal Station - Flagstaff | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Peak Signal Station - Flagstaff

Peak Signal Station - Flagstaff
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Thursday, January 1, 1874


After site visit and reviewing the available photos, I believe that this photo of the peak signal station and flagstaff was taken from the weather station at the summit of Victoria Peak.

Also notice that the skyline of this photo resembles the skyline shown behind the weather station at:

Other views welcome!


Agreed, looking down from the highest point of the Peak.

Regards, David

Subsequently find that this photo was from A Fong's photo set for the 1874 typhoon.  Would David please help revise the date to 1874?  Thanks a lot and Happy 2016 to all!

For record, the Signal Staion and Block House on the Peak suffered badly during the great typhoon of 1874 and had to repaired/rebuilt. 

(I've updated the date from 1875 to 1874.)

Any idea what the building on the right was? It looks like it was accommodation, so was it used by people manning the flagstaff, the weather station, both, or neither?

There is a label for it on the 1912 Peak map, but I can't make out what it says.

Regards, David

The 1874 list of Crown Property (Building) indicates that quarters were provided for staff (2 European signalmen and 2 Chinese assistants) at the Peak Signal Station. Perhaps the building on the right served the purpose of staff accommodation for signalmen from the Harbour Master's Office.  

The building on the right was labelled by Annelisec as the "Signalman's House" (

I have posted a photo of the damages to the Mountain Lodge caused by the great typhoon of 1874, from the same set of photos taken by A Fong (

Thanks for the identification. I've made a new Place for the Signalman's House.

Looking at the original photo again, I'm not sure it was taken just after the 1874 Typhoon. There isn't any sign of the type of damage shown in the photo of Mountain Lodge, or the extensive damage mentioned in the newspaper report that Moddsey found.

Regards, David

I have uploaded a zoom-in of the signal mast ( from the original photo taken by A Fong which could clearly show the typhoon damages, in particular, the missing crossarm (and the top part of the mast above) which should normally be present (please compare:  The broken crossarm and mast were lying on the ground next to the damaged signal mast in the photo.

The caption of the photo reads: "Victoria Peak is on the north-west of the island of Hong Kong, and is 1800 feet above the sea level.  Commanding an extensive view, it permits of an excellent look-out for vessels being kept.  Signals are hoisted on the approach of vessels, and a gun is fired on the European and American mails being sighted - often two or three hours before their arrival in Harbour.  Part of the flag-staff and gear was blown down during the Typhoon."

The report dated 9 October 1874 provided by JM Price, Surveyor General, about the typhoon, mentioned:  "The Signal Station on the summit of Victoria Peak, has likewise been seriously injured, and will have to be rebuilt."

Hope this answers David's question.

Thanks CM, the damage is clear to see in the zoomed-in photo, so 1874 it is!

Regards, David

Hi Moddsey,

Long time no see.  I am looking into the history of weather observations in Hong Kong and find that weather observations started to be reported at the Harbour Master's Office and at the "Block House, Victoria Peak" from November 1860.  Is the "Block House" the "Signalman's House"?  Presumably, the signalman operating the flagstaff was also staff of the Harbour Master?

Thanks and cheers, CM

The "Block House" at the Signal Station at Victoria Peak used as a place for recording thermometer and barometer readings first appears in the Government Gazette in October 1860. Unable to confirm, but I think the "Block House" would be the building immediately behind the flagstaff in the photo. 

First records of Government Buildings including "Quarters" at the Signal Station appears under "Crown Property" in 1871. I assume the "Quarters" would have been built earlier.

One may have to trawl the Government Gazette for answers regarding the construction of the "Block House" and "Quarters" at the Signal Station.