1960s Connaught Rd C Shop Houses | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1960s Connaught Rd C Shop Houses

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1960s Connaught Rd C Shop Houses

Received by email from IDJ:

 I took this in the late 1960s from the Rumsey Street car park. The road is Connaught Road Central and the Wing On department store was out of shot to the left. On the roof levels of these buildings can be seen the squatter huts and illegal extensions that were common on top of most buildings of this type in that period. A transition can be seen in the buildings in the image whereby the deep set first floor balconies either still remain areas for hanging out washing/sitting out and others glassed in for more living or working spaces. Some have started to have air conditioners fitted. Many were used as small factories.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Friday, January 1, 1960


Was this taken at the current incarnation of the Rumsey Street carpark?


That building was built in 1970, so it could not have been taken in 1960.  But then again, the cars do look like they came from the 1960s.  Was there an older multi-story carpark, or a previous building on that site?


He did say late 60's, so it's possible that he took it from that car park.

Greetings.  Each vertical pair of shophouses was served by a common staircase so this block would have six staircases to the rooftop.   When I was living in Sham Shui Po, it was easy to walk up to any rooftop.  Ours was unoccupied at first, so it was possible to fly kites a hobby I still like today.  Clay floor tiles under bright sun made the place too hot to stay long, so kids played in the street.  After supper time, we joined our elders and mingled with neighbours.

These building typically did not have janitors, and landlords lived elsewhere.  So the refugees moved in (or up), adults and children.  Soon after that, the whole roof top was occupied.  Huts on the ground were more elaborate, but most homes on our roof top were no more than four simple walls, flimsy roof, flat bed or a mat on the floor.  At night, they used oil/kerosene lamps.  For water, they made arrangement with a top floor tenant to supply.   They made supper using small wood stove and clay pots.  They did not have night-soil collection service so they had to go to public toilets to go.

Up there, I made friends with boys my age and men who worked for a shoe factory one floor above me.  I never heard any comments from my elders critical of our new neighbours.  In those days, every one of us was either a refugee or had relatives who were refugees.  I have fond memories of my times up there.  If not  grandparents had space in their flat, my family too would have had lived up there.  Thanks for reading my story.   Regards,  OldTimer    

Thanks for sharing! Great story!