When: Here's the back of the photo:
"Taken at Kowloon Pier. (old city) A Coy's swimming test. 7/07"
Which I'm guessing means it was taken in July 1907.
Who: Soldiers from "A" Company. A couple have their caps on, and one shows the cap badge:
Does anyone recognise which regiment they belonged to?
Where: "Kowloon Pier (old city)". This pier disappeared long ago, buried under the reclamation that later became the Kai Tak Airport. However, after the airport closed archeologists went looking for the pier, and found large sections of it were relatively intact. Here's a satellite view of the area today - that large diagonal line pointing to 10 o'clock is the excavated pier:
The pier was a modification of the earlier Long Jin / Lung Tsun Pier .
I bought this photo as part of a small set of three. The other two photos show the soldiers living up at Mount Austin Barracks on the Peak, so why had they come all the way over here to swim?
Modesty perhaps? The New Territories were less than ten years old, and Kowloon City would have been off the beaten track
What: I mention modesty because of their swimming suits. The men on the left are dressed in the typical suits of the time:
But the group on the right are more skimpily attired:
If there were any ladies present, this topless style would have been considered indecent according to the customs of 1907 ! Maybe that's why they went out to this remote pier to swim?
We have several other old photos tagged swimming: http://gwulo.com/taxonomy/term/4492/photos-gallery
If you can add any more, please could you upload them for us to see? Here's how: http://gwulo.com/node/2076
Trivia: This style of photo was known as a "cabinet card". From the 1870s on, if you bought a photograph from a professional photographer you'd probably receive it as a cabinet card like this one.
Each one has a thick card backing measuring a standard 4¼ by 6½ inches. The photo is stuck on one side and there was often a photographer's logo on both the front and back of the card. This example has an unsually plain layout:
By 1907, cabinet cards were going out of fashion. Kodak's Box Brownie was encouraging more people to take their own photographs, and professional photographers were switching to different formats .
- LongJin (aka 'Lung Tsun') Pier / Kowloon City Public Pier [1875-1942]
- History of Men's Swimwear
- Cabinet Card