Where: The landmarks in this photo are Green Island and its lighthouse:
Both are still with us today:
So we're looking out to the west from Hong Kong island, over Kennedy Town and beyond.
What: We counted 14 chimneys in the last photograph , but there is just one to see here. And I had a hard time identifying the buildings in that last photo, but fortunately we have a map of the area this time . It identifies several of the buildings:
Here are the roads marked on the photo, to help line it up with the map:
Gwulo talk: More photographs of old Hong Kong and the tales they tell
When: Wednesday, 20th November at 7pm
Where: Harold Smyth room, St. John's Cathedral
Details and booking: http://www.cab.org.hk/Old_Hong_Kong.png
In the distance, at the bottom of the slopes of Mount Davis, are these buildings:
I think the square building is the one marked 'Hospital' on the map, and the three buildings in front of it are those marked 'Tung Wah Plague Hospital'. However, the three buildings in the photo run parallel to Victoria Road, but on the map they are at right angles to the road. I'm not sure if the map is at fault, or I'm matching them wrongly?
The hospitals are long gone, but this remnant of the Tung Wah hospital still stands in a small garden nearby:
Closer to the camera, in the middle of the built-up area, are these buildings:
The road running across the middle of this view is Davis Street. Above it, with the fancy gateway and a courtyard, is a building shown on a 1901 map  as the Glass Works. It's not clear if it was still a Glass Works in 1920s, but as the outline of the buildings is the same on both maps, I'll guess it was.
Below Davis Street, the building with the chimney is the Rope Works.
Just out of sight, but running along the bottom of the photo, is the road named 'Smithfield'. A look at the map shows there are several buildings related to meat-processing in this area: Cattle / Pig / Sheep Depots and Slaughter Houses. That explains the road's name - Smithfield was, and still is, Britain's largest meat market .
We can't see the Cattle Depot, but the Slaughter Houses and Sheep & Pig Depot are visible over on the left:
Who: I've lived around Kennedy Town since 1992. When I first moved in, there were still several direct links to this older Kennedy Town:
- This area was originally called Lap-sap wan, or Rubbish Bay. Until recently the chimneys of the Kennedy Town rubbish incinerator were one of the local landmarks.
- Next to the incinerator was the abbatoir, the modern equivalent of the slaughter house. I'd hear (and smell!) lorry-loads of squealing pigs on their way to becoming a cha siu baau.
- On the other side of the incinerator stood the morgue, the modern-day replacement for the Dead House shown on the 1920s map.
When: This photo comes from a souvenir book  published in the early 1920s. I'll guess 1924 for this photo's date.
As always, it'll be great to hear from you if you can tell us any more about what we see in this photo. Questions, comments & corrections are always welcome too!
Trivia: Photos of a Plague Hospital and the Slaughter House seem odd choices for a tourist souvenir book. Until you read the caption for the photo, and understand what we're supposed to be looking at:
This photograph, taken from the recreation ground of Hongkong University, gives a glimpse of the beautiful western entrance to Hongkong's famous harbour. Most of the big passenger ships to and from the South sail via this deep and narrow passage which separates Green Island from Hongkong, while vessels to and from the North use the more magnificent eastern channel, Lyeemun Pass. The buildings seen in the foreground here are at the extreme west of Victoria City. Beyond Green Island, stretching North West, we have a chain of similar islets place like gigantic steppingstones between Hong Kong and its bigger brother Lan Tao, whose mountainous skyline can be seen in the distance.
Whether he enters Hongkong Harbour by this channel or by Lyeemun Pass the visitor never forgets the first vivid impressions made by the mighty mountains standing sentinel to that wonderful sheet of water. Though the less imposing of the two entrances, this one is, in a way, the more dramatic, for, whereas the long sheltered Lyeemun Pass prepares one for placid waters, Sulphur Channel takes the traveller suddenly from the deep swell of the vast Pacific to the lake-like surface of the harbour.
- The previous photo: c.1917 View over Happy Valley and Causeway Bay
- This map appears in the book 'Hongkong - A brief history and guide of Hongkongand the New Territories', published by Kelly and Walsh in 1924. There is a copy in the RAS collection, viewable at the Hong Kong Public Library.
- See map 'Plan of Victoria, Hong Kong. [In 29 sheets.] Public Works Department, Hong Kong, 1901.…' held in the UK National Archive, their reference: CO 700/HongKongandChina20
- 'Smithfield – or London Central Markets – is not just the largest EU approved wholesale meat market in the country, but the oldest too.
Originally known as Smoothfield, it was a large open space just outside the city boundaries on the edge of St Bartholomew’s Priory. (The name meant a smooth plain – but the word eventually became known as smith, a corruption of the Saxon word smeth, which meant smooth).
In the Twelfth Century it was used as a vast recreational area where jousts and tournaments took place. By the late Middle Ages the area had become the most famous livestock market in the country.'
- The old photo book from the 1920s is 'Picturesque Hong Kong. Photographs by Denis H. Hazell. Published by Ye Olde Printerie, Ltd., Hongkong.'