1946 Funeral Procession | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong
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1946 Funeral Procession

1946 Funeral Procession

Photo courtesy of reader Geoffrey:

Would love to share with you some 1946 photos which I've recently discovered in my grandaunt's belongings, and really fascinated that someone actually bothered to take pics of my paternal great grandma's funeral when she passed away in 1946. Guess it's kind of a pity that I only managed to grab hold of these things after the passing of my grandaunt, otherwise I would have made some substantial discoveries about these gems.

Could somebody tell me where this is? Think it's Nathan Road, given the span of the road. Quite possibly Waterloo Road. And perhaps the mountain in the backdrop would give some clue about the location?

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Tuesday, January 1, 1946
Connections: 

Comments

Hi there, I had had a hunch earlier and picked up the Chinese version of 'Hong Kong New and Then' June 2005 version (ISBN 962-04-2456-5) on my shelf and found an earlier photo of the same location on page 157. The photo appeared to be taken not long after WWII. The caption of this photo is about the British military organized a parade in Nathan Road in Mongkok. A footnote also mentioned the Japanese name of the movie theatre was still visible. The book did not have any pointers showing the exact location, however the photo itself did. The name of the movie theatre was Sun Tung Ah (新東亞)。 Now if only I could locate the site of this movie theatre. T

Good memory T, that's a good clue. (The photo T mentions shows the section of Nathan Road shown above, plus a few more buildings to the left. One of those buildings is the cinema he mentions).

I've added an entry for this cinema at the Cinema Treasures website under the name 'New East Asia'. There is a gentleman named Raymond Lo who has added a lot of information about old Hong Kong cinemas to that site, so I'm hoping he will see it and be able to help us.

I looked through all the cinemas listed on that site that are classified as "closed/demolished", but couldn't see any mention of the Sun Tung Ah (or possible English translations such as New East Asia, or New Cathay). It's possible that the Sun Tung Ah name was only used during the Japanese occupation. Several well-known buildings and businesses were renamed to more patriotic (if you were Japanese) sounding names during that time.

MrB

Hi there,

This particular cinema was among the tens of cinemas still operational under Japanese occupation. I found a link with some information in Chinese talking about local Movie industry during Japanese occupation:

http://www.fed.cuhk.edu.hk/CUHK_History/public_html/history2003a/39a.ppt

Look's like some academic research information/presentation to me.

T

Thanks for pointing me to the site about old/demonished movie theatres in Hong Kong and Kowloon. It would be most helpful if the list also contains their names in Chinese, as it was the way us oldtimers remember them and such would also enable us to share our memory.

Raymond has replied:

MrB,after looking at the photos carefully,the theatre was certainly the Victory Theatre.

In 1953,The Victory Theatre was rebuilt as the Ritz Cinema.

So, can anyone give us the street number on Nathan Rd for either Victory Theatre or the Ritz Cinema?

There is a long discussion (mostly in chinese) about old Hong Kong cinemas here that may help.

You can also see adverts for the Ritz Cinema in 1950s newspapers, but the ones I checked don't give any address.

Getting closer!

MrB

Hi there, Back in those days when they rebuild a building they might keep the name of the previous landmark. Ritz might have a phonetic translation as 麗斯 (Lai See) in Cantonese and there is such a building called 麗斯大廈 in Mongkong at Nathan & Shantung. That would be 625 Nathan Road. I remember this as the National/Panasonic/JVC showroom used to be there. This is the only connection that I could come up with. These days, the tall building and those bloody neon signs along Nathan Road made it very difficult to compare the now mountain ridges to the photo I mentioned last time. There was also a cinema in Sanpokong called The Ritz if I'm not mistaken. Best Regards, T

Hi there, Found a list of old and folded cinemas in the Chinese version of Wiki: http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E5%B7%B2%E7%B5%90%E6%A5%... It mentioned there was a 麗斯戲院 at Nathan & Shantung. It seems we've got it. T

The building which replaced the Ritz Cinema was Ritz Building,at the junction of Shantung Street and Nathan Road.

I agree with Raymond Lo, Ritz Cinema was located at the northwest corner of Nathan Road and Shantung Street. It was a medium-priced, medium size movie theatre showing Western movies in the 50s and 60s. If my memory is correct, the Victory Theatre is "Dong Lok" in Chinese - "East Happy". Then, it would have been located at the southern tip of that triangular piece of land on Nathan Road and east of Arran Street. It boasted as having the biggest screen in all of Hong Kong. There was at one time a nullah (below ground storm drain) next to it. In the 1950s, I climbed down to this nullah at the Boundary Street - Tai Hang Tung Road site to play. Oh, how clean the water was at that time!

Thanks to T, Raymond & Peter for fixing the location.

We've been sent a photo of the cinema in the 1960s. That shows it was next to the Sun Ya Hotel, which uncovered another photo of the area.

Raymond also shared some of the history in an email:

After a careful examination of the photos and the material I collected from the Central Library, the New Asia Theatre was certainly the Victory Theatre opened on 1st January,1941.
 
The telephone number of the New East Asia Theatre was 50100. If you can find the telephone number of the Victory Theatre and the two telephone number match,then the New East Asia Theatre must be the Victory Theatre.
 
In 1953, the Victory Theatre was rebuilt as the Ritz Cinema.
 
During the war years,
[several cinemas were renamed, eg] The King's Theatre was renamed as the Yu Lok Theatre.

Regards, MrB

The Chinese name of Victory Theatre was 勝利戲院,while the Chinese name of Prince's Theatre was 東樂戲院。The two theatre was not the same.Prince's Theatre was built by Sir Hotung on 17th July,1931.

Hi there, By comparing the colour photographs with the one I scanned from the book I saw how much re-built had been made at the area. The lamp post looked the same and apparently it had was still in the same location in the Sixties.

"while the Chinese name of Prince's Theatre was 東樂戲院。" Thanks Raymond for correcting my memory. My apology.

from Geoffrey, via email:

And many thanks for those replies, have so much joy going through them. Really thrilled with those investigative details, so very well thought out and very interesting indeed.

BTW, I believe there is a question or two for me from some of the viewers. The procession may have started at my great grandpa's shop-cum-home at No. 48, Temple Street. Great-grandma is indeed buried in Shatin, but she was only relocated there at a later stage.

The photo that T mentions in the first comment is here. That places this photo as showing the stretch of Nathan Road between Shan Tung St and Nelson St, looking North.