Swimming pool. | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

Lai Chi Kok?



Hi Andrew, I don't remember this scene.  This could be the same "special" pool with a young lady on the diving board in your other photo.  The pool's edge finishing looks similar, fairly well-maintained ground, and rising contours similar to those shown in 1952 map.  Regards,  Peter

Edited, Sept 21, 2019 - The memory of the one level building is back and clear.  This pool is the same as the pool with the springboard girl - https://gwulo.com/atom/33323  .

Thank you Peter.

Yes, I agree it looks like the same pool and Malcolm would surely on go to one of them. I’ll add the same pin. Regards  Andrew

Reply should be here, the post at the rear of the pool in the B&W photo appears to be the same one as this coloured red.

Yick Yuen
Yick Yuen, by fivestar

It is rather confusing but two threads seem to have evolved, one covering the Springboard girl and this one concerning the pool.  I have just checked the posts relating to Malcolm's gallery and see that in 2019, Phil proved that one, at least, of Malcolm's photographs was taken at Silvermine Bay so, contrary to my thoughts expressed on Gwulo, he did go there in 1952/3 - but then I ask myself, why?  Did he know the girl or the family that owned the house?  Life is full of mysteries.  Peter has a strong memory of visiting a pool very much like that pool and wall next to the springboard at a house up above Lai Chi Kok.  Is it possible that there were in fact two very similar pools?  It doesn't seem likely but maybe there were.  Andrew

The pool in this B&W photo does not seem to be the same one in Yik Yuen. It's the size of a public swimming pool. The visible part of the shorter side is about 25ft. If the springboard in front of the swimmer is in the midpoint of this side, then this side would be about 40-50 ft.

Yik Yuen's pool size is more like that of a backyard pool and it's much more elongated in shape. If the springboard was in the midpoint of the short side, this side would be about 4 times the height of the girl, or about 22 feet.

hi! that's my great grandpa's holiday home! 

Welcome to the discussion tkjho.  The 1963 air photo shows the pool by Castle Peak Road a perfect rectangle, and the Yik Yuen pool's southern side is slightly shorter than that to the north as indicated by the walk-around (but not a proof, I think I got fooled by that long and tall wall).  It would be nice to know the year Jeffrey's photo was taken.  The wall it shows has the same pattern as that in Trousdale's springboard photo, so there has been only one wall.

Please notice the walk-around surface.  They are red and white stones laid perpendicular to the pool side, still there in today's Google views.  In Trousdale's photo, the pattern is at an angle to the pool wall.   Regards,  Peter

Hi Peter,

I think you're right in that the springboard girl's pool is the same as the public pool. The springboard was offset to the right side instead of in the center so that the girl was closer to that side than the springboard was to the left side of the pool in the other photo.

As for Yick Yuen, the entrance stone structure is the same one as the springboard girl's, as I can match them stone by stone. The pool was and is rectangular. If you measure the 2 short sides from the ground level instead of from the top of the fence in the aerial photo, they are about equal. If it was a wire fence, the pool should probably show through it in the aerial photo. My conjecture is that the stone structure was moved to Yick Yuen at some point, and the solid fence was replaced by a wire fence, probably at the same time.

To avoid further confusion (at least for me), could we confirm that the B&W photo which shows a residence in the background was taken at Yick Yuen?

My basis for believing this is the white pole shown in both the original B&W photo and the red pole my colour photo both with a sphere on top.


I think the identity of the location has already been proven by numerous matching details. Plus, it is possible to match the distant hills in this and the other image to the area around Mui Wo (if you are patient with streetview it is possible to find areas that provide less obscured views to see).

The issue now is conjecture on whether or not this exact gateway was removed from Lai Chi Kok and transported to Yick Yuen sometime between Peter visiting the LCK pool and Malcolm taking the photos. I'm not sure this is a question that can ever be resolved satisfactorily without solid photographical evidence.

This may be one of those issues (like the NT Pagoda one now solved) that was solved many years down the line after everyone has already forgotten about it ;-)

However, I think this might be a good excuse for a few gwulo'ers to head over to Mui Wo (once I am out of quarantine that is).

Hi fivestar,

Those are flagpoles, they usually come with a sphere on top.

Hi Ms Yeung,

Is it possible for you to show your elders the photo above and see if they could recognize it?

Thanks & Best Regards,


Hi Phil,

I think that we are gradually coming to some sort of conclusion about the location of Malcolm Trousdale's Springboard girl photograph.  Compared with the NT pagoda puzzle it is but a brief discussion!

I don't think that it is particularly significant to your analysis, but Peter has recently pointed out that he was too young to have visited Lai Chi Kok when Malcolm took his photographs in 1952/3.  Without checking Peter's comment, I think that he wrote that his visits must have been in 1955/6, and by then Malcolm was back in England.  If the consensus is that Malcolm's Springboard Girl photo and possibly the other one was taken at Yick Yuen, then it follows from those dates that the structure that Peter recalls at Lai Chi Kok cannot have been moved to Yick Yuen.  Somebody, maybe you, has suggested that crazy paving facades on structures and walls were fashionable in the early 1950s and if as seems fairly clear there was a link between the two places, similar fashionable stonework could have been used. I have a vague recollection that crazy paving facades were quite popular in England - but, as a teenager, I would not have been interested in such things.

When Malcolm sent me his photographs for copying and adding to the 367 archive, they were loose, not in a chronological order and not labelled.  Frequently, when I asked my colleagues if they knew where they had been all those years ago, their memories had faded, especialloy if they only visted a location once for a very short time.  So, it has always been a problem to find locations for quite a lot of the 367 photographs.  As you might recall, we had discussions on Gwulo about several other photographs taken by Malcolm further out along the Castle Peak road, including one that turned out to be the Castle Peak police station. Memory is a strange thing and I have been proved wrong for several of my own photgraphs.  Regards, Andrew

haha we already  did, but don't  know who she is.

hi! that springboard girl photo is definitely  took at yick yuen! but all elderly  r very old , which they don't  remember  if they know this lady.


Thank you Allison for the confirmation. I have a feeling that my finger hit a wrong key and my reply to your previous comment flew off unfinished.  If so, I wrote something along the lines that old photographs often throw up questions about where, when, what do they show and who took them?  It is good to have somebody with family connections to be able and happy to add to the debate.  Well done.  Andrew

my sister  just searched fr old photos , confirmed both photos were taken from yik yuen. 

Thank you Allison.  Are you able to upload any more photographs showing how Yik Yuen used to be?

Thanks for the confirmation that both photos i.e. the springboard girl and the larger swimming pool were taken at Yick Yuen. Would it be possible to know if Yick Yuen was open to the public or just simply the people by the pool were friends/relatives? Thanks.

My wife has been very kind indeed to lend me a hand by looking at the images on her phone repeatedly until she came up with this photo showing what would appear to be the structure behind the pool. You can somehow make out the structure immediately on the left hand side of the tree in the middle with multiple trunks. What do you guys think? 

Structure behind the pool 2.jpg
Structure behind the pool 2.jpg, by Geoffrey2

Hi Geoffrey,

If you zoom in on your wife's previous photograph showing you standing alone, almost below where the springboard girl would have posed, you can clearly see the crazy paving wall and the concrete canopy to the left of where you are standing.  You loaded that image on Tuesday 2021-06-22 at 2157 on the Springboard girl thread and I am inserting it here for you to see.  The two threads on this topic (resulting from two photographs being involved) have mde it rather difficult to keep track of the discussion!  Well done to your wife for providing this great piece of evidence.  Andrew

Yick Yuen swimming pool.jpg
Yick Yuen swimming pool.jpg, by Geoffrey2

Thanks Andrew for your compliments! The photo with my children on it is meant to show the house looking structure on Malcolm's photo of the swimming pool without the bikini-clad woman on springboard. Apparently both my wife and I could make out a piece of that house looking structure (where the arrow is pointing at) in our set of photo which seems to align with the house in the background of the B&W photo that started off this thread. If you zoom into the blue arrow on my photo, you probably would understand what I mean.

Hi There,

I believe it is the camera lens together with the perspective that had been playing tricks to our eyes.  I tend to believe the lens in use was of a wider angle one.  If you pay a bit attention to the edge of the pool on the b/w photo, the edge closer to the camera looked taller than the  further corner but in fact, they are of the same measurement.  The shorter focol length (wider) the more distortion the photo reproduced.

Next time I go past Yick Yuen I will try and see of the white\grey building could still be seen between the trees.


Hi Thomas,

I'm not sure whether you refer to one or both pool photographs that Malcolm took, but the following might be of interest. The standard lens used in 35mm cameras throughout the 1950s had a focal length of 50mm.  Some cameras, mainly Leica, had interchangeable lenses and a few guys on the camp had one but it was a fiddly job to change the lenses so they tended to use just the standard 50mm one.  Leicas were also much more expensoive than the Agfas or Voigtlanders that we usually bought and I opted for an Agfa Silette L camera, which was pretty much state of the art. My best guess is that Malcolm used something similar probably an Agfa or Voigtlander - the latter being a bit more popular, but it would almost certainly have had a 50mm lens and would have been used for all his photographs.  I don't think that a 50mm lens would be a wider angle lens than is usual in more recent times.  Maybe perspective is a more likely cause of any 'confusion'.  Regards, Andrew

Hi Andrews,

I know the brands, but had not had any chances to use one of those.  Used to use some Agfa B/W flms back in my secondary school days using all manual Seagull SLR (made in China) as the photography club could buy in bulk.  We usually cramp around 40 frames into a standard roll casing.  And we had a dark room to play with.  I still don't know much about photography anyway.  Just messing around with the digital cameras these days.

Someone is still making Voigtlanders lens for all sorts of cameras out there, but Leica is out of my league.   

I will see if I could take some photos outside the wire fence with a similar point of view with a 50mm equivalent lens next time I go to Silvermine Bay.  Hope I won't be accused of traspassing though.


The pavilion can be seen through the bamboos a few steps north of the front gate.

Yick Yuen swimming pool pavilion
Yick Yuen swimming pool pavilion, by tkjho

Hi There,

Thanks for the pointer.  Now at least I have a few more locations to try and observe next time I go there..  I am still wondering why that B/W photo with the pool (with many people around) gave us such a perspective.


Hi Thomas, and everyon else who has been following these two threads.

I had thought that my contribution to both the threads about the swimming pool, now known to be at Yick Yuen on Lantau, was finished.  BUT read on.  I think that the answer to your question is on the photograph.  At the extreme right you can see the spring board - which is not as high as one would believe from looking only at the photograph of the girl posing on it.  The crazy paving wall, concrete canopy and gate would have been just off the photograph to the right.  Malcolm would have been standing on the poolside at the shallow end.  The fence, the path and the curious passers-by would be a bit further round to the right. Your red circles on the section of the Yick Yuen map off the Geolnfo Map which is on the other thread agree with this perspective, and the pavilion and steps leading up from the poolside are quite clear.  I hoped to add your map section but haven't been able to do so. 

Swimming pool.
{C}{C}{C}Swimming pool., by Malcolm Trousdale{C}{C}{C}

Immediaterly beneath your map Alliyeung posted that 'according fr my aunt, she said use to have a side entrance to the waterfall'. That must be the small gate that is located beneath the concrete canopy. You can see that the chain link fence on that photogrash matches very well with the one visible on Google Earth Street view - even down to the lower fence on the raised wall section with the three or four plant pots on it and the full height section in front of the men. The section that had the plant pots on it is now almost hidden underneath some large plants and according to Street View there is now a long line of plant pots.  I suspect that the fence is probably the original one.  See the Street View image below that will show how things have not changed - including the bamboo still flourishing through the hole in the canopy, and the steps up from the poolside are still there.

Yick Yuen side gate
Yick Yuen side gate, by Andrew Suddaby

Meanwhile, I wondered whether the girl is actually one of the people sitting by the pool.  I'll enlarge my file copy and see whether she is there!  WOW!  I have done that and am pretty certain that of the two girls sitting beneath the umbrella at the left of the photograph, the one on the right is indeed our Springboard Girl.  See my very poor quality enlargement below.  She is the one sitting behind the white towel on the table.  She has long hair and just below the table top one can see her bare tummy and, by today's standards, her very modest bikini bottom. I also see that there is a third, empty chair at that table.  Was Malcolm actually with the two girls?  That might explain why he was there and took the photograph of her on the springboard and why she was looking directly at Malcolm.  Her pal is wearing a full one piece costume.  Mystery after mystery!  Andrew

Bikini girl.jpg
{C}Bikini girl.jpg, by Andrew Suddaby{C}
Springboard girl.
{C}{C}{C}Springboard girl., by Malcolm Trousdale{C}{C}{C}

Hi tngan,

The cameraman was probably in more or less a similar position as this one, but slightly to the right side of the springboard instead of slightly to the left here, in landscape mode, and composed to include the bikini girl in the shot. The photographer might be in the pool near where the boy was and not on dry land.

Structure behind the pool 2.jpg
{C}{C}{C}Structure behind the pool 2.jpg, by Geoffrey2{C}{C}{C}

Hi Andrew,

I believe it is no question about the location.

Now that I looked at the spring board with the lady photo again, I recognize the perspective also made us see the pool is very wide on the narrow side.  The actual pool at Yick Yuen is quite narow on the spring board side.  This could be seen from Google maps under satellite view from the top down........   Interesting.

I will show the photos to a colleague (who has a side job as a photographer in his free time) and ask for his opinion.

Might take a while.



The deep end measures between 25 & 30 ft on Google map.

As I speculated in one of my comments above, the board was likely offset to the right side. Estimating from the springboard girl photo, it was about 2 body lengths from the right side. From the other photo, it was about 3 body lengths from the left side. These together make that side about 5 body lengths wide, fitting google map's measurements well. The board has been replaced since and now it's in the midline.

If you zoom in & look carefully at Geoffrey2's photo I posted above, you can see that the black edge of the pool converges from the left side of the photo towards the far corner of the pool, similar to that in the b&w photo; and the location of the pavilion is the same as in the b&w photo.

Springboard girl photos.jpg
{C}Springboard girl photos.jpg, by Andrew Suddaby{C}

Above you will see that I have made an annotated copy of Malcolm's swimming pool photograph taken at Yick Yuen in 1952/3, and have inserted a small copy of the Springboard Girl photo in order to show the angle from which it was taken.  Please excuse the missing word 'photographer' after my word 'good'.  I think you will agree that Malcolm must have taken the Springboard Girl photograph from somewhere close to where my red arrow points. Malcolm being a talented photographer was probably lying down to get the atmospheric angle that he wanted. I think that this scenario fits well with Geoffrey2's colour photographs from 2019 and with others.  Andrew

Hi Geoffrey2

Sorry. I didn't realise that your blue arrow was pointing at the position of the building with the verandah on Malcolm's photograph.  Was it a large summerhouse?  I'm afraid that I couldn't make anything out but now see what you mean.  Many thanks.  Andrew  

Hi Andrew,

From that position, do you think a 50mm lens would give him that angle of field coverage, or was he using a 1.5x or 2x tele?

The bag on the girls' table could be his camera bag.


The thought had also crossed my mind that the angle at which the Springboard girl appears and the background are compatible with the use of a longer focal length lens.  However, such a lens would have been VERY unusual in 1952/3.  Even four or five years later when I was in Hong Kong, I don't recall any of my contemporaries using anything other than a camera with a 50mm lens.  One guy had a Leica with interchangeable lenses but, as far as I know, he only used the 50mm one.  Remember that I have said that Malcolm was good photographer.  Even I, a not very gifted one, had access to a good dark room at R.A.F. Little Sai Wan and I am pretty sure that Malcolm would have done his own developing and printing there.  In that case he was probably able to crop and adjust images.  When he became a professional photographer in later years in England he had ample opportunity to work on them before sending, what I think must have been digital copies, to me in the early 2000s.  On balance, I'd go for a standard 50mm lens with him lying down to take the photograph.  I too thought that the bag on the table looked rather like a camera bag.  It might have been, and that would support the view that he had more than one lens - but nobody I knew had such a thing, and I am not at all sure whether such bags existed in the early or mid 1950s.  I carried a UV filter, a lens hood and a small range finder in their small individual leather cases all strapped to my camera case strap.  As far as I can remember none of them was ever used!  Regards,  Andrew

This compilation shows the building up the slope from the swimming pool in 1952/3 and 2015.

Yick Yuen building.jpg
Yick Yuen building.jpg, by Andrew Suddaby

yes! think that building  was maids  room

Hi Allison. Yes, that is very probable.  I suspect that if there were several maids they might each have had a room in that building.  At R.A.F. Little Sai Wan (Siu Sai Wan) there was a row of individual rooms in two blocks at the Chaiwan end of the camp.

As you will have seen on both the threads about the swimming pool at Yick Yuen, there is a lot of interest about it.  If you are able to ask your family for any memories of what it was like, or still is, I am sure that people will be very interested to hear from you.  Regards Andrew

The estate extends all the way to the entrance to Pak Ngan Heung 白銀鄉, on both sides of the trail.


Hi Alli,

Unless you're 100% sure, I think that building is more likely the changing rooms cum covered outdoor lounge area for the swimmers.

The maids' quarters were usually in an obscure area in the back of a property, and not in such a prominent location and this grand-looking.

Thanks tkjho.

If I had zoomed in on the photograph, I'd have seen that the interior did not look like typical maids' quarters.  I think that your suggestion that, as the building was in a very prominent position at the top of lawn, it was more likely a pavilion / summer house possibly used as changing rooms for the pool.  Andrew

it's  very  interesting  everyone is very interested  about our holiday  house.i don't  that's  the changing  room area. sorry, no elder can tell me what  that house is. but I looked it few years  ago, I believe  it's  maid or storage  area. sorry no elderly  can tell me what it was.

Is it possible that the building, which had a very good location in the garden, was used for guest accommodation? Andrew