Old sub-terrain public toilets? | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Old sub-terrain public toilets?

Hi there,

It seemed a bit odd to have such a topic but indeed it was one of those totally unexpected during our meet-up over dinner.  Would you be more astonished if I tell you the topic was raised by the only lady present?    :-P

I could not recall anything like these on Kowloon side, but I have been peeing into at least three of them occasionally back in the 1970's.  They have one thing in common, ladies are not allowed.

Of the three mentioned, one of them was under Pottinger Street, the second one was at the junction of Wellington Street and Queen's Road Central.  The last one was located in Queen's Road West at what we localls called 雀仔橋 (Pronounced as Tseuk Jai Kiu.  If you must translate it would be something like Birds' Bridge.  Today, only the one at the junction of Wellington Street and Queen's Road Central still functions as a Toilet. Gone was the days when a long trough running all the stalls with water being flushed periodically from one end to the other carrying everything in the middle with the flush.   All the old utinsils had been replaced.   It had been modernized in the past decade or two. 

The one under Pottinger Street is already covered in another forum article so I am not going to repeat it.  It had been made into sort of a store room, but the ventilation shaft could still be seen above street level.

The other one that had been bricked up could be seen in this Street View photo:

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Those five blocked up windows used to be the windows of the toilet.  The entrance wa on the top toward the western side.

The still functioning one could be view here:

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Can you see it?  This angle was also the same one for a very famous sketch of an old shop house which looked like it had been suddenly being cut in halves with a curvey end on one side and the straight end along Wellington Street.  I believe that sketch was by Mr Kong Kai Ming too.

Actually all three of the toilets are well above sea level so you don't have to worry about where did the flush go or if the seasonal high-tide would throw everything back through the conduits.

My 2 cents,



Hi Thomas,

I've often wondered what those windows under "Bird's Bridge" were for. Now I know!

There was another old public toilet building tucked away behind the junction of Queen's Rd W & belcher's Street. It had a lovely old tiled roof, supported on large bamboos if I remember right. There's still a public toilet on the site, but the old roof is gone now.

Regards, David

Strangely enough, I delved into this subject some time back after reading an article about underground public latrines on Hong Kong Island. The article may have come from the SCMP.

The underground publlic latrine at the junction of Wellington Street and QRC was built in 1912 whilst the one on Pottinger St between Stanley Street and QRC was built the following year.

Junction of Wellington St and QRC


1930s Queen's Rd Central & Wellington St (Oval Postbox)

1960s The entrance to the underground loo can clearly be seen. Note the George V postbox in both photos!

1960s Queen's Rd Central & Wellington St

The last time I walked past, another subterranean latrine exists on Aberdeen St near the former Hollywood Road Married Police Quarters. It is now blocked off pending the site's fate.

2010 "Bird's Bridge'

2010 'Bird's Bridge'


Hi there,

This is is sor of newish.  If you go inside you should be able to see the infrastructure is made of steel.

Best Regards,