Old Hong Kong Photos ... Volume 4 : Errors & corrections | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Old Hong Kong Photos ... Volume 4 : Errors & corrections

Spotted a mistake? Please let us know in the comments below, so it can be corrected in future editions.

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At the bottom of page 33 I wrote that I'd never seen any women working on the seafront, using shoulder poles to unload junks. Then recently I bought this photo, and proved myself wrong!

Woman carrying large baskets of clay pots from junk
Woman carrying large baskets of clay pots from junk, by Admin


So I'll change the bottom two paragraphs on that page from:

Back to shoulder poles – as the photo shows, in 1896 Des Voeux
Road was the centre of the shoulder pole world. Each of those masts
belonged to a junk that needed loading or unloading by men like
these. They’d pad up and down planks that ran from the harbour
wall down into the junk. There are lots of photos like this, taken
along the seafront and showing men carrying heavy loads on shoulder
poles. But only men – I haven’t seen any women among them.

We know women did exactly this kind of work, and were arguably
even stronger as they had to climb the Peak’s slopes. But as far as I
can tell the men and women kept to their own districts: women on
the hills, men on the flat land near to the seafront.

to:

Back to shoulder poles – as the photo shows, in 1896 Des Voeux
Road was the centre of the shoulder pole world. Each of those masts
belonged to a junk that needed loading or unloading by men like
these. Carrying their loaded shoulder poles, the men would pad along 
the narrow planks that ran from the harbour wall down into the junk. 

This seafront scene is repeated in many photos (see Volume 3, p.45 
for several more examples), but looking through them I note it 
is very rare to see any women. If women could haul coal up the 
Peak’s slopes, they were surely strong enough to handle this kind of 
work. But the photos suggest that men took most of the seafront 
trade, while the carrier women worked inland and on the hillsides.

I have seen photos of both men and women working on the waterfront and alongside boats and junks. 

Thanks Moddsey, it sounds as though I'm imagining things that don't have strong evidence to back them up. I'll rewrite the text again.

Back to shoulder poles – as the photo shows, in 1896 Des Voeux
Road was the centre of the shoulder pole world. Each of those masts
belonged to a junk that needed loading or unloading by men like
these. Carrying their loaded shoulder poles, the men would pad along 
the narrow planks that were laid between the junk and the harbour wall. 

In earlier copies of this book, I wrote that I hadn’t seen any carrier 
women working along the seafront, suggesting that the men 
monopolised this work, while the women worked inland and on the 
hillsides. In fact there wasn’t such a neat division of labour, as I’ve 
since seen photos of women using shoulder poles to unload junks, 
and read of men carrying loads up to the Peak.