What are we looking at in the foreground of this photo?
I think the location is on the newly formed seafront, after the Central reclamation in the 1960s. Then just to the right of the photo the second Blake Pier stretched out to sea.
But what was this stretch of pier used for? There's some sort of large, metal frame at the back of each bay in the pier - does that give any clue?
The background is easier to identify. From left to right:
- On the far left the roof of the GPO building can just be seen. It looks very different from the box-like buildings that have grown up around it.
- Next is the P&O building. P&O had been a major presence in Hong Kong for many years, but by this time their days were numbered. I wonder which year the number of international arrivals by air exceeded the number arriving by sea?
Can anyone whose family was here on a government posting tell us when the option to fly to the UK for home leave first arrived? And when was the 'travel home by sea' option finally canceled?
- I don't recognise the next building, but after that comes the Chinese Club Building, also still standing and visible in the 2010 photo to the right. It opened in 1966, giving us an approximate date for this photo.
- There's a gap for a road, then the roof of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce Building can just be seen above the pier.
- Next a few more buildings I don't recognise, til we reach the tallest building, on the far right of the photo. That building is still there today, though it looks quite different. It was named the Hang Seng Building until recently, when it was refurbished, given a new exterior, and renamed the Nexxus Building.
It's interesting to see the different generations of buildings. Take a look at this 1950s photo:
The building to the right of the GPO was built in the 1920s. It was an earlier generation of P&O building, and was one of the tallest buildings on the seafront.
In the 1950s photo it was still almost as tall as the building with the Omega sign. Look at the difference in the number of floors though - eight in the old building, but eleven or twelve in the new one. No high, airy ceilings in the new buildings!
The 'Omega sign' building is still visible in the 1960s photo, but by then it's the shorty, with surrounding buildings five or more storeys higher.
In today's photo it has been replaced by Fung House, taller again.
Can anyone tell us what's caused the increases in height over the different generations of buildings? Government regulations? Building technology? Something else completely?