1950s Des Voeux Road Central

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 21:21

We're back to Hong Kong island for this week's photo.

Where: The building on the right pins it down:

Central Market

That's Central market, still standing today:

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Across on the left is a row of large doors. The building was the old fire station, and the doors were to let fire engines go in and out.

Central Fire Station

No sign of them today, as the Hang Seng headquarters building stands there now.

When: Sometime in the 1950s, judging from the other photos in this set. Can any car experts help us pin down the date by the models shown here?

Who: The policeman has stopped the traffic, I guess to let someone pull out of Jubilee Street? I wonder why this junction got a policeman?


The stop was good news for the photographer, letting him take a steady photo.

What: We're following another tram. I don't know where ours is heading, but the one in front is on its way to Causeway Bay.


In the lower left window there's a man wearing a cap with a white band around the top. Probably the conductor, selling tickets to passengers.

Look across to the right from the tram, and you should see a round sign, black with white writing. Here's a closer view:

Pawn shop sign

It's the sign from this Pawn Shop, the only other building in the photo that still stands today:

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(If you can't see the two modern views, please click here to view the web version of this page.)

As always, comments, questions and corrections are welcome. Though we're off to Thailand for our Easter holidays, so apologies if you don't get a reply for a few days.

Regards, David

PS Here's a view taken a liitle further east in the 1930s to compare:

Reference: A225D

Date picture taken
1953 (year is approximate)


The front cover and page 29 of "1950's-1980's Hong Kong on the Record : A Collection of Photographs by Chan Chik" (1999 edition) shows a photo with caption: "Doss out. Jordan Ferry Pier, 1956" and by chance covers some taxis on the back with similar design feel as the automobile in the above picture. The Chinese restaurant Jui Heung Yuen could still be seen meaning the photo was taken no later than 1962 as by that time it was moved to Wanchai. So guess the photo was taken during mid to late 1950s.

I searched 2 web links which posted Chan Chik's 1956 photo with vehicles. Chan was a photo reporter at that time. The 2012 new edition of the book didn't use the photo on the cover anymore:

Hong Kong on the Record 1950’s -1980’s – A Collection of Photographs by CHAN Chik”

ISBN: 9789620432828 published by Joint Publishing (HK) Ltd.

《香港記錄(1950's-1980's--陳迹攝影集》陳迹【著】三聯書店(香港)有限公司  出版日期:2012/09/07

1999 edition : http://book.kongfz.com/item_pic_1011_143692765/

2012 edition : http://www.books.com.tw/exep/prod/lookinside.php?item=0010563531#tt


The building with the clock next to the pawn shop was demolished to make way for the Man Yee Building. Wikipedia has the Man Yee Building as being completed in 1957.

The Chui Heung Yuen Restaurant at the north east corner of Queen Victoria St (next to the Fire Station) with lowermost horizontal signboard appears in photos dated around 1953. Other photos show the King Fu Restaurant being in the same location. Pehaps someone can find out.

Another observation from the same era is that there used to be a telephone booth outside the main entrance of Central Market on Des Voeux Road Central. Not erected yet in your photo.

 See here  for another view of the policeman directing traffic from Jubilee St.

Came across this blog which mentions that licence plates with the XX prefix were issued between 1957 and 1958 after the licence plates with the HK prefix had been exhausted.




I guess late 1940s. The tram may have installed the gates, also the lower panel has modified to prevent people escape for paying the fares.



Have seen the main photo in a 1953 travel guide issued during the Coronation. So the main photo is from mid-1953 or earlier.

(By the way, with the migration to the new format, the presentation above is rather severed.)