1946-7 Hedda Morrison's photos

Submitted by David on Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:42

Hedda Morrison took several hundred photos of Hong Kong in 1946-7. Harvard University has a large collection of her photos, and high resolution copies can be seen on their HOLLIS web site. This link should show you the full collection, and then you can narrow it down by date, etc. if needed:



In Edward Stokes' book of Hedda Morrison's photgraphs taken in 1946-47, page 114 of the 2005 edition, there are 4 photographs of a mid-levels garden. In the notes to the photographs, the Chinese pagoda is stated to still exist behind Realty Gardens.

There is a Chinese pagoda in the upper gardens of Realty Gardens (41 Conduit Road), but it is not the one in Hedda Morrison's photgraphs. The original was lost when Realty Gardens was built. The existing one is a replica, built necessarily at a higher level, and appears reasonably similar to the original. The roof is not as ornate however. The current one is I would say mainly constructed of concrete.

When you compare the Hedda Morrison's photgraphs with what can be seen to day, some of the garden's original walls and steps shown are clearly still extant. 

There is also an interesting family connection concerning the original pagoda. It was here that Ian Morrison courted Han Suyin in I think 1949/50 (=Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing). Hedda Morrison's husband Alistair was Ian Morrison's younger brother.


I have found this trail very interesting. I have a copy of Pagan Innocence in my grandparents' collection of books. It stands out, both because its subject matter varies from the otherwise sober books within the collection; and because the cover is today rather shocking. The photographer and author was KF Wong with whom Hedda Morrison collaborated whilst her husband Alastair was stationed in Sarawak - see "Of colonial photographs and cultural resources: The photographic archive of the Sarawak Museum" bu C. Horn in Archives 2013, vol. 4 Issue 1. 

So I am wondering whether they had a copy of Pagan Innocence because they knew Hedda. And was the photographer KF Wong the same as Wong Kwok Fong, Principal of the Rural Training College in Hong Kong between 1946 and 1954 (See Hong Kong Album 1961-2 p.328-9)? 

I have no record of them knowing Hedda herself, but they did know an Alexander Morrison, Senior Superintendent of Police. (see 1965 New Year Honours, Wikipedia)

Does anyone know whether Alexander Morrison was another brother of Ian and Alastair Morrison? 


All advice welcome! 



George Ernest "G. E." Morrison (4 February 1862 – 30 May 1920), also known as Morrison of Peking or Chinese Morrison, was an Australian adventurer and The Times Peking-correspondent.

His three sons, Ian (1913–1950), Alastair Gwynne (1915–2009),[4]and Colin (1917–1990), all grew to manhood and graduated at the University of Cambridge.


Noticed an early reference to Hedda Morrison in a "Letter to the Editor" in the China Mail on 2 April 1947.

"Whoever is responsible for the Annual Report on Hong Kong for the year 1946 is deserving of the highest praise. What might have been a collection of dry as dust reports and statistics has been put together with intelligence and a sense of imagination which to my mind is admirable..............

The book is well produced and the photographs are a joy to behold. Hedda Morrison, whoever she is , has given us views of which none but an artist could depict. The one facing page 96 of the centre of the city reveals a beauty to which most of us have been blind."

(Submitted by P.S.C.)

Morrison has a couple of photos in the Annual Report. The photo on page 96 shows the Supreme Court on the right, the HSBC in the centre and Government House on the upper left. Perhaps this photo on the left here