1920s Lyndhurst Terrace and Wellington St | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1920s Lyndhurst Terrace and Wellington St

1920s Lyndhurst Terrace and Wellington St
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Monday, July 1, 1929


Any ideas what we're looking at along the road's edge on the right? They look like boxes of some sort.

I see there's a letter box on the corner, and one of those sturdy pawn-shop buildings in the background.

Hi there,

Some of those looked like big recycled thin metal oil bins with its top removed, also with a wooden handle bar mounted across the top.  Some others looked like they still have their tops intact.  By the look of it those might be queuing up for water or other fluid commodity.  They usually use a 擔挑 (a slightly flexible wooden or bamboo stick) to balance two or more such containers on one's shoulders to carry them around.

Thanks & Best Regards,


As I see it, we're looking downhill from lower Lyndurst Terrrace with Wellington Street forking off to the right towards Central, and Pottinger Street running uphill left to right past the postbox. Anyone concur?

For a long while, I knew there was a George V postbox at the bottom of Pottinger and Wellington Streets.

It took me a while to figure out the general direction of the above photo. As for the 'boxes' on the street, I do not have a clue!


Thomas, here's a photo from the 1960s showing tin cans lined up while people wait for water. They certainly look similar:

1960s Hong Kong

In the summer of 1929, Hong Kong Island in particular was going through a period of tough water restrictions. As David says, the 'boxes' would probably be tin cans left on the streets waiting for the public standpipes to be opened.

A comparison photo from the period. Probably in Central somewhere. It would be interesting to find out the actual location. Note the tailor shop.

1920s Water Shortage

The original photo shows the location of the Lai Tai Pawn Shop at the eastern cormer of Pottinger and Wellington Streets. The street fire alarm is also shown here 

Those were empty kerosine cans lined up for fresh water.  There were frequent draught periods in Hong Kong and water was rationed.