Wan Chai. Gloucester Road quay, China Fleet Club.JPG | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Wan Chai. Gloucester Road quay, China Fleet Club.JPG

Wan Chai. Gloucester Road quay, China Fleet Club.JPG

Some friends play marbles with several young boys.  The China Fleet Club is on the left and the pink building was police flats. It is probably still there.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Wednesday, January 1, 1958


Indeed the building housing the police flats is still there. It is part of Caine House (www.gwulo.com/node/24171), the northern most and oldest of the buildings now standing within the compound known as Police Headquarters, but which actually contains Wanchai Divisional Police Station, Wanchai District Headquarters and Hong Kong Island Regional Headquarters in addition to PHQ.

To my understanding, the rooms with balconies were initially quarters but have been used as offices for many years now.

I presume Caine House is named after William Caine, aka "The Dreaded Major Caine", who, as Chief Magistrate from 1841 to 1844 headed the earliest version of the Hong Kong Police. If so, it's an interesting choice of name as Caine was not noted for his progressive thinking and is said to have taken the view that, "vigorous employment of the lash and the noose was the best...means of impressing the criminal class with the majesty of the law." (Page 11, "The Royal Hong Kong Police Force (1841-1945)" by Crisswell and Watson).  

Just to the right of the pink building we can see three of the banks in Central:

  1. Facing us is the Bank of China
  2. The HSBC building is just peeping out from behind it
  3. The new Chartered Bank is behind that, still under construction with crane and scaffolding visible.

Marble playing on the side walk was very common among kids in those days. The metal cover of manholes was especially suitable. You lose if your marble is shot outside the cover by your competitor. I did the same back then (late 1950s).

TW Wong

Hi TW,

Even if we didn’t have all the gadgets that today’s children seem to take for granted, in the 1940s and 50s, we knew the pleasure of being able to play fairly safely in the less busy streets of England or Hong Kong. Marbles, hide and seek, French cricket and, when the girls would let us, skipping and many other simple games kept us happy and fit.

bestvwishes, Andrew