Hong Kong (Kowloon) Marie, Amah and Bigsis | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Hong Kong (Kowloon) Marie, Amah and Bigsis

Hong Kong (Kowloon) Marie, Amah and Bigsis

Text on Flickr:

This house stood in the district of Tsim Cha Tsui, Kowloon, on Chatham Road S., between Prat Ave. and Cameron Rd. View is north, with the Gun Club Barracks in the distance. Marie-Félicité, "Bigsis" and her Amah (Nanny) greet a passerby who looks a lot like Jules. More likely they're seeing him off to work.

Of course, the district looks nothing like this now. The mansion, a double house (note second gate), appears in a 1908 picture of the Observatory, but now it's gone. The name on the near gate pillar (and maybe the far one, too) is "Holyrood," after the Scottish castle.

So if I ever go to the Hong Kong Public Records Office to look them up, I have some names (Semichon, Grandel), dates (1908-1912) and an approximate address to go on.

Probably the house was south of (todays) Prat Avenue. On Gwulo it's "Building on Chatham Road, south of Cameron Road". In the distance, Observatory Villas can be seen.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Monday, January 1, 1912


1908 Chatham Road
1908 Chatham Road, by Admin

Thank you Klaus for the photo.  Peace, quiet and friendly come to mind when I look at it, considering it was shortly before WW1 and about the start of the Republic of China.

Excuse me if this sounds mundane.  I am sure that is a drainage ditch along the sidewalk and the photo captured the opening which appears to be shallow unless it goes deeper than shown.  If it was concrete, how did they clean out the trapped debris?  Mind in the gutter this time and place!   Regards,  Peter

Peter, I think there is an open storm water drainage running along Chatham Road. The water would be running towards the photographer. To block e.g. stones and other heavy stuff, a stone slab is in front of the gully. The opening (side inlet) is usually covered with a metal grating or grid to prevent debris to enter.

Already in 1888, plans were presented for the separation of household and storm water drainage. In this report under no.6 is stated: ..His roof draining and the rain which falls upon his back-yard may in most cases be allowes to escape over the surface through gutters into side-channels, and thence in the nearest of the numerous street gratings which everywhere communicate with the storm-water drains.

Thanks Klaus for the information.  Regards,  Peter