Victoria Harbour-Plan 0f 1873 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Victoria Harbour-Plan 0f 1873

Victoria Harbour-Plan 0f 1873

This is my third map patched together from microfilm prints from the Chronicle & Directory of China. This map was in the 1875 edition of the Chronicle. I apologize for this one being of much poorer clarity than my other two. The microfilm printer used for this effort produced very poor results. To assist in reading the Reference key to buildings, I have typed out what I  believe to be the correct text.

If any GWULU readers have time on their hands and are so-inclined, they could make recopying these maps (using a modern digital camera) a rewarding hobby. For those not in the know, I have a little secret:  The world's best run of original Chronicles (hard copies not microfilm)  lies hidden under lock and key in the local archives office of HSBC near Olympic MTR station. If you know the right people you might obtain permission to photograph these maps. I have been trying for some years now to get the Hong Kong Central Library to co-operate with ' The World's Bank'  to scan and digitize the whole set of Chronicles and make them available worldwide on-line as a public gesture..... but to no avail. It seems as if these directories are treated like Medieval monks used to lock hand -written bibles and other religious works in the belfry away from prying eyes. Or perhaps "the World's Bank" keeps these hidden away because they are now their only considerable asset left of value along with their original Chinnery paintings.crying

Plan of Victoria  

Hong Kong   

From Causeway Bay to Navy Bay

Including Wong-Nei-Chung Su Kun-Poo and the Harbour



 1. Government House

 2. Government Office

 3. St. John's Cathedral

 4. Murray Battery

 5. Court House

 6. Post Office

 7. Club House

 8. Albany Building

 9. St. Paul's Collge

10. Gaol

11. City Hospital

12. Barracks A and B

13. Officers' Quarters

14. Main Guard

15. North Barracks

16. Head Quarters

17. New Naval Stores

18. Royal Engineers' Work


19. Commissariat

20. Arsenal

21. Military Hospital

22. Engineers

23. Gun Sheds

24. Wellington Battery

25. Engine House

26. Ordinance Office

27. Native Hospital

28. East Guard House

29. Central Police Station

30. Wanchi Market

31. Harbour Master's Office

32. Oriental Bank

33. Clock Tower

34. Roman Catholic Chapel

35. Mercantile Bank

36. Central Market

37. Berlin Mission House

38. Slaughter House West

39. Western Market

40. P. & O. Co.'s Office

41. Slaugter House East

42. Taipingshan Market

43. St. Andrew's School

44. Chinese School

45. Joss House

46. Jardine Matheson & Co.

47. Hong Kong Hotel

48. Ice Hosue

49. Union Chapel

50. Police Post (?) Harbour




Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Wednesday, January 1, 1873


Thanks again, another good addition to the gallery of maps:

Regards, David

HSBC is very generous with access.  Just make an appointment. They bring them down from their archives and you look at them in their little office (while they very politely make sure that you aren't a vandal tearing pages out). I was told that the microfilm at HKU is from those original HSBC books. Very nice people, and real archivists, not just clerks.


@" I was told that the microfilm at HKU is from those original HSBC books."

Yes probably so. And so also, a similar set of seriously deteriorating microfilms at the Public Records Office in Kwun Tong. The problem is that the these old microfilms are now obsolete technology. They are very low resolution images and the print-outs from the readers are terrible with black blotches and frequently with parts of the pages out of focus. The tops of the page might be in focus but the bottom of the pages fuzzy.

Some time ago I talked the Hong Kong Kong Central Library staff into becoming interested in a suggestion to approach HSBC and request permisssion to rescsan the whole set of books digitally and make them available on line to the public as do they do with old newspaers. Some time later I was told there was a  "copyright issue from the bank" preventing such a project. Such nonsense! More recently I have suggested this to the bank's  Archive staff and ........... ???????. .....still waiting

It is up to us to find the funding.

The Central Library has a budget for this type of project. At risk of repeating myself, their staff were keen on this but somewhere bureaucracy  got in the way. These annual directories (1846 - 1941) contain a wealth of information about trading companies , manufacturers, councils, customs, police and foreign residents in China's Treaty Ports and other Asia foreign-settled districts. There is also a historic perspective in the introductions to many of the places listed and these were frequently updated each year. Any organization investing in the complete scan and digitization of these directories ( and making them available on the internet ) would receive worldwide academic accolades. I rest my case.