Beach for Europeans | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Beach for Europeans

Beach for Europeans

Came across this picture among some family pictures. On the back is written "One corner of the beach only for Europeans on the other side is one for the Chinese".

The handwriting is my great aunt's and I would date the picture to the early to mid 1920s.

Does it ring a bell with anyone and could she have been right?

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Thursday, January 1, 1925


Cheung Chau Island had a European Reservation area.

What do you reckon?

The headland seems to match so guess you are right.

Does the background of my pic place it and where is this island which I assume was a holiday spot in the 20s?

If you refer to a map of Hong Kong, Cheung Chau Island lies to the south west of Hong Kong Island proper. The island that one sees in the background is the larger island of Lamma and the smaller island on the left could be Kau Yi Chau.

The Cheung Chau (Residence) Ordinance was passed in 1919. The European reservation area was located on the southern part of the island where missionaries had already settled. Out of eleven beaches on the island, five beaches on the southern shores were affected by the Ordinance. There are still some marker stones that demarcate the reservation area.


Thanks for the wonderfully precise information. Having spent a little longer looking at your picture I am sure you are correct about the location.

I assume that this was a one time popular spot for bathing and general frolics. My great aunt who I assume took the picture because it comes from her collection was a very bright young thing who played hard in 20's HK.

Thanks again.


actually, I don't think you need the headland to identify this place, just look at the rocks in both photos and they are a perfect match.

Sean, I've added a Place to the photo to round off Moddsey's identification, so you can see exactly where it is. Another one to add to your intinerary when you visit Hong Kong!

When the Cheung Chau Residence Ordinance (European Reservation) was passed in 1919, the main beach for locals was at Tung Wan. It is on the same stretch of shoreline as Kwun Yam Beach.

Taken from the path above Kwun Yam Beach

Kwun Yam Beach




The island in the background of the photo towards the right is actually Lamma island.

The area reserved residentially for Europeans was marked out by a series of marker stones - one of which is still visible half-way up the first section of Peak Road on the left (going up) under a tree (one third? way from Jockey Club betting shop and Kuan Kung Temple)