What: Lots to see, but let's start with the obvious, the long building stretching across the foreground of the photo...
... the former British Military Hospital up on Bowen Road.
It opened in 1907, and it's still here today - I hadn't realised it's passed its 100th birthday already!
In the main photo it all looks spick and span, as it had just been finished. The lack of people, plus the scaffolding on the small building to the left, makes me think it isn't open for business just yet.
That small building on the left, still in scaffolding, will be the Nursing Sisters Quarters. Next to it is the main building: North Wing on the left, Administrative Block in the middle, and South Wing to the right. The small building up the slope in the foreground is marked simply "Barrack Block". Note the bench seat on the lawn in front of it. Must have been a nice spot to sit in the evening.
Above the hospital at the right of the picture we can see the rooftops of Wanchai. The only buildings that stand out are the four gables of the Blue Buildings on the seafront. They housed the Royal Naval Canteen:
On their left you can see a distinct gap. It's the line of Arsenal Street, and marks the boundary between civilian Wanchai to the east, and the military land to the west.
Below the gap is a long building on the top of a small hill. On this 1856 map it is marked as "Native Hospital":
But by the 1920s the map shows it as "East Married Quarters". I think that in this photo it would already be the East Married Quarters, but please leave a comment if you can confirm.
Arsenal Yard and its Aerial Ropeway
The first piece of land west from Arsenal Street is Arsenal Yard, hence the street name. An unusual feature of this area is the old aerial ropeway that ran across it, from the seafront up to the Navy's magazine on the hillside. Can you spot it?
Here's a close-up to help:
If you look inside the "c" of the watermark in the close-up photo you'll see one of the pylons. At its 4 o'clock is the curved path where the cable turns round and back to start heading uphill. And at 10 o'clock are the other pylons leading to the seafront.
I didn't spot this when I looked at the real photograph, only after scanning it and zooming in. A good bonus.
Down to the left of the pylons is a group of much older buildings, the Wellington Barracks:
That's the name of the small basin and slip above Wellington Barracks. On a 1920s map, it looks as though the buildings around the Camber belonged to the Army. So was the Camber specifically for Army use, or was it shared with the Navy?
The Navy Dockyard
Left from the Camber, and we're into the Royal Naval Dockyard. Between the U and L of the watermark are four long, low buildings. They don't appear on later maps, so they're probably just temporary structures. Remember that this piece of shoreline had only been reclaimed for a few years when this photo was taken. The reclamation is complete, and the seawalls have all been built, but you can see that the area still looks like a building site.
Across from the temporary buildings is the big Tidal Basin, with those distinctive curved cranes.
That Chimney again
On the far left of the photo is the big chimney we looked at last month. In that photo, the chimney was still under construction, and they had just started pile-driving for the foundations of the Electrical Generating Station building. Here we can see that chimney and attached Station both look complete. No sign of any smoke though, so maybe the machinery inside isn't complete yet.
Hopefully some of our nautical readers can tell us more about what was in the harbour on this day. The only ship I recognise is the white hulk, HMS Tamar. Later that would move in to the Tidal Basin:
What else should we be looking at?
Who: I'm starting to think this collection of photos belonged to someone in Hong Kong to work on the Naval Dockyard Extension. They were all taken around 1906-7, and several show the Dockyard Extension at different stages of development.
When: Early 1907. The hospital opened in mid 1907, so if I'm right that the building is finished but not open, the date should be early 1907. And if I'm wrong, please leave a comment!
Where: The photographer is somewhere up the hill above the hospital, probably on Magazine Gap Road. I walked up there this week, to the small lay-by in front of the Magazine Heights residential block. There are too many trees in the way to get a good photo, but the view looks about right. If you ever visit Magazine Heights, please could you take a photo to compare the view?
Thanks & regards,
- The map "Hong Kong. Cantonment of Victoria", c.1924 is very useful for identifying buildings in this area. It can be viewed at the SMO library in North Point, ref: HG7.