Gilman Motors [????-c.1976] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Gilman Motors [????-c.1976]

Gilman Motors
c.1976-12-31 (Year, Month, Day are approximate)

My dad worked in Gilman Motors around 1951-1959 but he got no photos about it at all. Gilman is a big company but I find nothing about this company in the Internet!

With the help from other forum, I can only find one photo showing half the building. Could help can help me. Thanks.

The Gilman Motors was located in Wan Chai the corner of Glouester and tonnochy road.

Gilman Motors


Someone from the UK has bought a Jaguar E type & he found out that the car sold new & was originally shipped to Hong Kong by Gilman & Co back in the 60’s. He would like to find out any history that related to his car! Will there be any record still can available? Thanks!

For information on the E Type Jaguar, try website.

Information re Gillmans itself re sale of Jaguars is scarce.

Dear barc0508:

   Not sure if you have this picture of gilman motors on Tonnochy road. Just scroll down to the third picture.

This is an almost full view of Gilman Motors in 1962 after the typhoon Wanda destroyed the Tonnochy pier.

semi-full-front view gilman motor 1962.png
semi-full-front view gilman motor 1962.png, by simtang

My father, Reg Gough, thought up the slogan "Gilmans for Philco" and started the scooter idea.  They were used for deliveries of paperwork and small items between offices.  The staff wore Forest Green Uniforms. I don't know if any of your relatives' was named Peter Chow because he was very much part of my memories of my parents working at Gilmans and of our 15 years in Hong Kong.   

My mother was the manageress at the Gloucester showroom in the 60s.  They sold refrigerators, airconditioners and Ronson Electric Razors.  The showroom was opposite Watson & Co.'s wonderful old chemist where we could buy cosmetics as well as normal items to be found in  chemist.  Gloucester Arcade was a beautiful old arcade with many shops and below were storage areas for goods.  It was later adjoined to a new and modern building with two levels of shops.  In the 60s you could have the most wonderful Dim Sum upstairs as well as buy egg tarts etc., in the Gloucester cake shop.

As for the year of its demolition, it probably was 1976 as the oversea trust bank was building a new headquarter there . In 1977 June, the building was almost finished.  News report in the following:

oversea trust bank 1977-06-24.png
oversea trust bank 1977-06-24.png, by simtang

Following should be qualified to be called "full view of Gilman Motors" at a distance soon after the new Wanchai pier was opened on reclaimed land in 1968.

wanchai waterfront 1968.png
wanchai waterfront 1968.png, by simtang


Another one, slightly closer, photo taken in or before 1963 as the Tonnochy pier underwent expansion with two new wings in 1963:

waterfront early days.jpg
waterfront early days.jpg, by simtang

To philk 

Again, Uwants has the answer. A news report in 1972 indicates the Oversea Trust bank was planning to build their headquarter at the Gilman Motors site. The Jaffe road behind Gilman was occupied by owners of those buildings there.

In an agreement with the bank, the government would take back that section of Jaffe Road and the bank was allowed to add a few more stories to their building in exchange. Therefore after the bank opened in 1978, Jaffe Road between Marsh and Fleming became a throughfare.

1972-10-17-oversea trust bank and jaffe rd.jpg
1972-10-17-oversea trust bank and jaffe rd.jpg, by simtang

 barco508's SCMP photo of gloucester road and Gilman Motors with a rickshaw must be taken  before 1970. According to a news report in August 1970, Gloucester road east of Tonnochy junction was widened from a 4-lane (2 each way) road to a 8-lane (4 each way) road.  It was open to traffic in Aug 1970. The photo shows it was still 4-lane. New road plus the old Gloucester road together was renamed the Waterfront Road. Over the years, it was again called gloucester road. They also put a barrier separating the old and new road. My guess is that the Tonnochy Pedestrian bridge was built before 1970. More likely in 1970 when the Gloucester Road was widened. When the Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo 工展會 the first time took place on Wanchai reclaimed land around Tonnochy Road, the bridge was already there in the following photo:

1970年12月Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo 工展會.jpg
1970年12月Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo 工展會.jpg, by simtang

Hi, Carol

It was a long time ago but I remember Reg and Paddy Gough, they were good friends to my parents Bob and Elise.

Memories are hazy now but I recall a merger/venture between Hadens (where Dad worked) and Gillmans.  I don't know how that arrangement worked out in the long run as we left HK in 1968 to go and live in Manila.

I also remember Reg having some sort of stick with bottle tops attached.  Strange the things I recall.

Hope these few lines ring a bell.

I do have a photo of Reg - I'll dig it out.

Best wishes

Bill Bletcher

I think my father was GM of the import/export dept. his office in the 60's was in Alexandra House. I remember Gilmans representing Spalding, Gray Nichols, HG VI Whisky, Rowntrees, and a whole bunch more. Inchcape bought Gilmans out in the late 60's and my father retired and left HK in early 1971 after having arrived there in the mid 30s, also together with wife & infant daughter, POWs during the war. I recall receiving some hand me down/rejected Al Geiberger golf clubs! and seeing all those GN bats/squash rackets etc, plus Smarties I think from Rowntrees! I read Carol's comments about Moutries. Hah. i turned down going with my brother & sister to their concert - i think my parents ordered them to bring me along; i was much younger; :) I think a few Gilman employees lived at Mountain Court, 11 Plantation Rd. certainly mine and Carol's.

Oh yes, Bob and Elise Bletcher were huge friends of my parents.  They were lovely people. Many happy parties were held.  The stick you refer to was made by my father (Reg Gough) and was called a "Boombass".  He would go up on the stage (much to my embarrassment) at a party and join the band playing the darn thing.  I have a photograph of him doing it at one of their parties.  The parties were called "Oose Ere" or something like that.  Co-hosts were Robin and Joanne Cooke. 

Hi, Carol

It's nice that you remember my parents so fondly; sadly, both have passed away now.

I've sorted out the photo I have of your dad.


L - R:  Bob Bletcher, unknown, Reg Gough
D530ED2C-EAD3-44C5-A738-9B42DE539016.jpeg, by Khatru57k

We used to have many photos of parties and functions from those far-off HK days, but nearly all were lost in 1970 when our Manila house was destroyed by Typhoon Yoling.





I wish I had more.  I particularly remember photos from a party were everyone dressed as pirates.  I guess that may have been at RHKYC.



Mum (pregnant with my sister) and Joan Berrecloth 

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Tuesday, January 1, 1963
FC3E0C10-97CC-4879-8EA5-1603CCA6B810.jpeg, by Khatru57

55AF1A5E-D2C0-48D9-8C2C-93E763647BB3.jpeg, by Khatru57

Mum and Dad mid 1963 at Hong Kong Club (I think) 


New Year's Eve 1963 Mum and Dad whooping it up at the Hong Kong Club

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Tuesday, December 31, 1963
C5775D85-3DF2-4FF8-8491-7CF146C2BC25.jpeg, by Khatru57

Oh wow, I told you they were fun.  Every New Year's Eve, at midnight, wherever I am - I get totally nostalgic for Hong Kong.  The Hong Kong Club did a great do and went into the early hours of the morning.  Then we would go to the Hilton Hotel Coffee Shop for breakfast, which tasted soo good. However the thing I remember most of all was that wherever we were, we would go outside at midnight and hear all the ships blowing their horns and the American and British Navy Ships flashing their search lights all around the harbour.  I left Hong Kong in 1971 but have had this vision in my head every single year ever since.  I have photographs but am still trying to figure out how to download - no success as yet!


Joan and Terry Berrecloth split up and Terry lives in Australia now, remarried.  The man behind your mother and Joan was Alf Keeping, Manager of Refrigerations and Airconditioning when my father became a Director of Gilmans.  Paddy and Reg Gough are no longer with us either, nor is Alf but Terry - who was younger - is still rocking around in Queensland I think.

Alf Keeping - I remember that name.  Was his wife's name Gwen?

I remember New Year and watching the ships in the harbour flashing their searchlights.  In those days we lived in Parkview Mansions on Tai Hang Road (just up from the Tiger Balm Gardens) and we had a great harbour view.  Later on we moved up to the Peak where we stayed in Vivian Court at Mount Kellett.

Other names I recall from those wonderful days include:  Apps, Fitch, Murray, Kingdon, Nedell, Li, Wolfe, Watson, Holm, Von Kretchmar, etc.  No doubt there are plenty of others that will come to mind later.

It would be wonderful to see any photos you'd like to share, especially if there are any with my parents in.  If it makes life easier you can always email to:



Oh Goughie, yes! The Gloucester yum cha restaurant was HUGE! The whole length and width of the building, no?

I used to meet Carol there to go through a pile of dim sum dishes during our lunch break in the '60s! That is when we (and Marilyn) weren't eating our lunch in Statue Square Gardens, perched on one of the walls of the water feature!

I never liked eggs and still to this day cannot stand eggs but do you remember the currant buns they had at the cake shop? And, if I haven't got this biscuit confused with Queen's Cafe, do you remember their "waffle cookies" which were in the shape of a pyramid and had chocolate frosting (?) on all 3 sides? They were quite large and absolutely delicious! laugh


@Carol Claysohn, Marianne remembers you and your parents, Reg and Paddy with much fondness and sends her love. 

Oh how lovely to know.  They were such great friends and spent many many days and nights together.  I have a photograph of them at the farewell party in Hong Kong.  I am not sure who "Tessa" is but rememember my mother being very fond of Therese?  Perhaps you are Therese's daughter?  

Therese is me but I've always been known as Tessa other than by your parents. Marianne will be delighted to have heard from you. My email address is and would love to see the photo if you wouldn't mind emailing it. She was talking about your parents just this morning. Thank you.