Old Hong Kong Photos and The Tales They Tell, Volume 1 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Old Hong Kong Photos and The Tales They Tell, Volume 1

Gwulo book's front cover

How to buy

The Gwulo book is available to buy online, or in local book stores:

  1. Buy online - click the Buy this button below to order online and have the book mailed to you. Local and international orders welcome.

    Shipping within Hong Kong is free of charge, and shipping to other countries is by airmail. You'll be shown the shipping cost during checkout, before you confirm your order.

    SPECIAL OFFER: International customers - buy two or more copies for delivery to the same address and get FREE SHIPPING. (Just click the Buy this button again to order your extra copies.)

  2. Buy in a bookstore - Hong Kong customers can find the Gwulo book in branches of Bookazine, The Commercial Press, and the Swindon Book Co.

More information

The book is a 112-page paperback, with a page size of 152 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 inches.

ISBN: 9789887827603

To take a closer look, please click here to download a PDF sample of photos and stories from the book.

From the back cover:

Not your typical photo book!

David Bellis, founder of the popular local history website Gwulo, shows you a selection of his favourite photos of old Hong Kong. So far, so familiar.

But then he takes you on a deep dive to discover and understand the photos’ most minute and revealing details. Plague-ridden rats (pg. 7), flapper hats (pg. 56), and chocolates (pg. 73) are just a few of the surprising clues you’ll investigate. Finally, David helps you piece the clues together to uncover the photos’ hidden stories.


"David’s ability to discern useful details from historical pictures of Hong Kong is exemplary. This book and Gwulo.com are essential resources for anyone curious about this city’s past."
Dr Kwong Chi Man, Assistant Professor, History Department, Hong Kong Baptist University


"Listeners to my show on RTHK know David as a great teller of quirky Hong Kong stories. He brings the same insight and meticulous research to this, his new book. Good to see it is Volume 1 – looking forward to the rest of the series!"
Annemarie Evans, Producer & Presenter, Hong Kong Heritage, Radio 3, RTHK




The Ablong family and collegial ex-HKers now resident in Canberra enjoyed the publication particularly the photographs.  The consensus is that it was a well presented publication.  We look forward to vol.2 and any other material (particularly photographs) that may arise.  The acid test imposed by the consensus group was the level of nostalgia and the invocation of memories long lost in the aging corridors of the mind.  Well done David.


It might be on interest to your audience that my great grandfather John Cotton built the first residence in Kennedy Town, and my grandfather John Ablong built the first residence at the Peak. During WWII my mother and I walked up and down North Point looking for my father's (Alfred Ernest Ablong) body to no avail.  He had been shot by a sniper while he and Sgt McDevitt were delivering food and ammunition to those at the Hotel.  It was some years later that we were informed that the vehicle in which they were travelling was torched by fifth columnists.


Wishing you and yours good health, wealth, peace and safety for 2018.