Hong Kong c1900.jpg | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Hong Kong c1900.jpg

Hong Kong c1900.jpg

This photo must have been taken c1920 and shows my grandfather, James William Graham and either my father or uncle, outside a temple possibly in the new territories.

My grandfather was works manager at Whampoa dockyard and had been in Hong Kong from 1896.

Any information regarding actual location or otherwise would be gratefully received. (Poor quality  of scan relates to a flood which destroyed the majority of family photos)

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Thursday, January 1, 1920


I looked at photos of some of the old temples in Hong Kong, but they're all narrower than this one. There is Chinese writing on the right-hand pillar, so maybe that'll help identify it.

It may be a Clan Academy (祠堂) instead of a temple. A photo of the current Chen Clan Academy (廣州陳家祠) in Guangzhou PRC at the following link shows a similar appearance and architectural style.



Greetings, and very impressive detective work, tinwantower!

Just above the lion (colour photo in your link), the three roof lines and one visible roof-joint are good match.  The entrance on the far left has been sealed off, and its small outline is visible in the colour photo. Perhaps not as strong hints  - the sun's shadows are about the same orientation, and it could be winter time given the heavy clothes they were wearing.  Regards,  Peter  

There is a major discrepancy between Potaroo's photo and Chen Clan Academy. The small side door opening on left hand side of Potaroo's photo has a simple semi-circular top arc only while Chen Clan Academy's has one top arc and two small arc on its side (one on each side).


Also, all temples / municipal buidlings in old China adopt the same orientation (may be for Fong Shui reason).


Thank you tinwantower for your comments.

The 3-arc entrance as a reference, I think the two men were standing a short distance to the left putting them about the same spot as the current lion's statue.  There, the roof lines are more agreeable, and no brickwalls on the front for both.  The 3-arc entrance's concrete work appears to be the result of recent renovation, and it is logical they preserved the original design.

The small "former entrance outline" on the Potaroo's photo looks similar to that on the Academy's colour photo.  Its height relative to the beam just above the lion's head are similar in both photos.  One apparent difference is that there are now decorative works above the arc, whereas Potaroo's appears to have none.

I agree, Fong Shui are considred and likely essential when selecting their orientation.

As a side note, the Chen Clan Academy is about 1,200 metres west-southwest of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's Memorial Hall while my first home was a short distance to the southeast .  Venturing a few minutes from home were rice paddies.  So I think the Academy was at one time also in a farming area.  My comments above are applicable (or not) if the Potaroo's photo location has been verified.  Regards,  Peter  

Addendum October 13, 2019:  This Google street photo dated August 2016 shows, I believe, the same location as in the Potaroo photo.  Please use Google maps and enter  "Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, Guangzhou" in search.  As there are more than a dozen location markers, look for the building named Huashan, the marker is to the right bottom corner, second up from its corner (southeast corner).  If I am right, the two gentlemen were standing about the same spot as the two ladies in green and black.

About 500 metres to the southeast from the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, there is a place called Guangdong Folk Art Museum, where one of their street view photos dated December 2016 shows the same-looking building in your first link, and it matches the Potaroo's photo well.  I am almost certain they show the same building, and its site is at the Ancestral Hall.

Many thanks to all, especially OldTimer for your comments on the location. There is no way I would have got to that place. I can only assume that prior to my grandfathers depature from Hong Kong, they took a road trip up into China!

You are very welcome Potarro.  Credit goes to Tinwantower who did the initial search and got positive result.

I have a personal interest in Guangzhou it being my first home after WW2.  As a small boy, I ventured out to play with other boys and this required walking through, first, residential area much like the quiet Kowloon Tong in the 1950s, and next rice paddies.  One time coming home, at the last second I realized I had to make a left turn in the midst of paddies in order to reach home.  Grandma later said to me "Here, you won't get lost".  The rice paddies are long gone but those memories stay.   Regards,  Peter