Gough Street Steps.JPG | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Gough Street Steps.JPG

Gough Street Steps.JPG

I wonder if any 1880s/1890s photos of Gough Street Steps exist. Being quite ignorant of Hong Kong’s geography, I don’t know if they connect with Queen’s Road Central. If I’ve understood this entry in the 1885-86 Rate Book correctly, they seem to have been located next to The National Hotel, 242 Queen's Road Central, where my grandmother, Hannah Olson (later Warren) was born in 1880. In 1885 John Olson, aged 47, great-grandfather to my generation of Olsons, Warrens, Warnes and Melchers, had just retired from managing the National Hotel and its associated boarding house and moved to 1 Ladder Street Terrace. Moddsey has previously posted his 1883 newspaper advertisement offering the hotel’s furniture and fittings (including two billiard tables) for sale. Previous Rate Book entries give John Olson’s name above that of the National Hotel, but Tso Lai Tong? as owner and rate payer. 1885-86 is the only year I’ve found when “Gough St. Steps” is entered under 242 Queen’s Road Central. As mentioned in previous posts, the street number of the National Hotel varies quite a lot from year to year.




Hi there,

There are still quite a lot of Granite slaps around the area which might just be as old.  If you use Street View and browse along Gough Street you should still be able to see them despite the photos is quite a few years out of date.  Some of them are indeed steps going up to Hollywood road or down to Kau U Fong.

There is another flight of stairs going down from Gouth Street to Queen's Road Central.  But this one looked post WWII.  There used to be an air raid shelter right in the middle of it back then thus I believe the original steps had been replaced owing to urbal development.

Might take a while to locate old photos of this section of Queen's Road Central though.


That's an interesting note. It suggests that the National Hotel at 222 & 224, Queen's Road Central was next to the Gough Street steps that Thomas linked to above. That's a couple of blocks further east than the location of the National Tavern (http://gwulo.com/national-tavern). We have a lot number for the National Tavern, so that location should be accurate. We've previously treated the National Hotel and the National Tavern as different names for the same building, but maybe they were on two different sites.

Jill, you give "242 Queen’s Road Central" as the address of the hotel above, but in the image of the Rate Book it is 222 & 224. Was that a typo, or have you also seen the address given as number 242? Because coincidentally a map from 1897 shows the building on Queen's Road Central next to the steps down from Gough Street was number 244.

Regards, David


For some reason my (false?) memory overrode what was in front of my eyes, namely 224. 242 is a typo, but its proximity to Gough Street Steps is interesting. Let me collate the information on the National Hotel, the National Tavern and the National Inn, possibly the same property, that I’ve copied from the Carl Smith cards:

In 1859 the National Hotel appears to consist of three tenements “on I.L. 12 A west of Aberdeen Street”, also given in another item as “I.L. 12 A, Queen’s Road.”

In 1866 the Chronicle records an application to transfer the license of the National Inn, 290 Queen’s Road from A. da Cruz to John Olsen [sic].

In 1868 the Chronicle gives the address of the National Tavern as 222 Queen’s Road West and John Olson as license holder, but the Jury List gives John Olson as Innkeeper 292 Queen’s Road in 1868 and Innkeeper, “Nations” Tavern for 1869-71.

In 1872 the Rate Book, according to Carl Smith, gives the address of the National Tavern as 292 Queen’s Road at I.L. 95 Section A and owned by Lumbah (in 1867 Olsen [sic], National Tavern, is said to be the “servant of Stewart and Lumbah.”)

In 1878 the Chronicle gives the address of the National Tavern as 200 Queen’s Road Central licensed to John Olson. I have verified that numbering in the 1880 Rate Book, the Boarding House being 200A. Had the numbering of Queen’s Road shifted?

So, at different dates, we have 200-200A, 222-24 and 290-292 Queen's Road given for the National Tavern/Inn/Hotel, which clearly consisted of two adjacent properties, a “beer shop” and a boarding house. I don’t know if the different Lot no. given in 1859 for a three-house property of the same name is significant or if that early “National Hotel” folded and was resurrected in a different location. Now I need to pass the buck to the historians of Hong Kong’s streets.


I've marked the location of the oldest site at http://gwulo.com/node/33112

It looks as though the name moved around several different properties over the years.

Regards, David

It's quite difficult to trace the progress of the National Hotel through the successive Rate Books. I'm not convinced that the numbering of Queen's Road doesn't itself shift during the ten year period that John Olson and his brother Olof had the licence for the National, although I haven't yet been able to check every single year. Although the road number is not on her birth certificate, I deduce from the Rate Book that my grandmother, born in 1880, was born at 200A Queen's Road, next to the then Gough Steps.