Another harbour view

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 21:19

This is another view of the same harbour. There is a possibility it could be Macau or Canton. I think my great grandfather - a sailor - travelled from Lisbon which may make it likely that he went to Macau. I also know that he had dealings in Canton.

Date picture taken


Looking at this, pondering what looks a bit like an RN river gunboat hull in the left foreground, the standing up, double oared, push rowing style of teh sampan under oars, the design of the empty sampans, of the covered sampans between the two ships and the shoreline and buildings, my hunch is that we're in the wrong place altogether in thinking China, and that this may very well be somewhere like Rangoon. Anyone voyaging from Europe to China in the late 19th century will have done so 'via ports' and on many lines Rangoon was a call. The river gunboat/passenger boat design also says this is a river port.


Submitted by
Ho Lim-peng (not verified)
Fri, 05/28/2010 - 18:24

The jack flying at the bow of the gunboat appears probably to be French. The gunboat does indeed look like a British design, probably "Insect" class. The French operated numerous river gunboats, including British-built types, in  China. I think this photo was taken in a Chinese port, probably early 20th century. 

Having examined the photo further, it seems that a reception may be taking place on board the gunboat. Awnings are rigged, officers in full whites are visible. There seems to be some floral display arrangement rigged at the bow, and what looks very much like a temporary  overside "heads" (toilet) starboard side forward. What an intriguing vignette!