Kowloon Dock Battery [c.1880-c.1905]

Submitted by Rob on Sat, 08/28/2010 - 22:14
Current condition
Demolished / No longer exists
Date completed
(Day, Month, & Year are approximate.)
Date closed / demolished
(Day, Month, & Year are approximate.)

Year Completed is: Approximate

Condition at last visit: Demolished

Date of Last Visit: 1998

Ref: ROB - 00125



  • The date of construction of this battery is unknown, but believed to be around 1880.
  • 1886: First reference found: 1 x 9" RML gun, 2 x 7" RML guns, 2 x 8" Howitzers.  (CAB 11/57).
  • 1886: Proposed armament: 2 x 9" RML guns.  (CAB 11/57).
  • 1894: 3 x 9" RML guns.  (CAB 11/57).
  • 1897: 3 x 9" RML guns.  (CAB 11/57).
  • 1900: 3 x 9" RML guns.  (CAB 11.57).
  • 1901: 3 x 9" RML guns.  (CAB 11/57).
  • 1903: 3 x 9" RML guns.  (CAB 11.57).
  • 1904: 3 x 9" RML guns mounted, no longer approved.  (CAB 11/57).
  • 1905: 1 x 9" RML gun still mounted. Land transferred to Colonial Government in 1905.  (WO 78/6009).

For a background to these notes, and a glossary of terms used, please go to: http://gwulo.com/node/24630




Previous notes from David:

In "The Guns & Gunners of Hong Kong", Rollo says that this battery "was built between 1878 and 1880", but that the last guns were removed by August 1905. That's the date I've used for the demolition of the battery, though it's likely the site remained for some years, as they were built to last.

Though the battery is all gone, there is something left to remind us of it. Rollo again: "[...] there is, in Whampoa Garden, a 9 inch RML which was found during the excavations for the foundations of Lily mansions. Since the Battery was very close to this site it is probable that the gun came from the Battery. If this is the case it is very likely that the other two guns are still buried nearby."

Craig, get the metal detector ready!!

The location on the map above should be roughly right. It's based on plate 4-3 from Mapping Hong Kong, a 1902-3 map of Kowloon which shows the battery.


The map here which has the battery marked is dated 1909, so - assuming accuracy - the battery lasted a few years past 1905. 

I was curious about that map,it was published in 1909 but has no date on it. Wikipedia calls it 1900s, but it refers to Des Voeux Rd - apparently renamed as Chatham Rd in 1890. So I should think that the map is earlier, not the battery later. I got curious about the map when trying to track down whereabouts in Kowloon Dockyard my mother's family lived from 1906 on - I have photographs of rather grand, spacious stone houses on the waterfront, but saw no sign of them on the map. 

Hi, I think the Kowloon roads were renamed later than 1890 - can you remember where you read the 1890 date? On this map dated 1903 you'll see they're still using "Des Voeux Road":

1902-3 Map of Tsim Sha Tsui

And Jason Wordie's book gives 1909 as the year that the roads in Kowloon were renamed.

As Annelise mentioned, if you can give further information about the houses, and/or show us their photos, we'll try and help locate them.

Regards, David

If you are on Facebook have a look at the Taikoo and Kowloon Dock Families group. We have quite a few photos of Kowloon (Whampoa) Dock. The location on the map is next to the giant concrete ship shopping mall/food hall, which was formerly the main dry dock. The location of the marker, if my memory serves me correctly, would put the battery in a building. My best guess, but I don't remember finding any clues as a child, would be up on the hill above the dockyard where the sports field was located or up at Highbrough Terrace which overlooked the dockyard. The position on the map would have been at harbour level and I guess a more elevated position would have been better. Good luck with Craig's metal detector (by the way I hear the Italy trip was good fun - Craig - and I'm dragging you up Mt Parker in September when I come out for a holiday - or perhaps the other way round) the position is under a sea of concrete and skyscrapers. However, the marker on Dyer Ave should be easier to find as I think this is still open ground. Hope this helps.

Hi Geoff, looking at the maps again, this battery was directly east from the big dry dock, so the marker may well need a nudge to the right. At some point I'd like to overlay some old maps of the area, which will give a better fix on the location.

That piece of land was dug away at many times over the years, so it's hard to know where the hills were. That would be another interesting project, to document the changes in the height of that piece of land over the years. I think it's the Hung Hom peninsula shown in the left photo of this 1860's panorama, and it shows just how much land has been cut away over the years.

Regards, David

David, I have some old photo's (which can be found on the web) of Kowloon Dock that may help with your project. Also, check out my facebook page "Taikoo and Kowloon Dock Families". In fact there are some members who grew up their in the 50's so may well remember the location. The Lapsley family are on Facebook and are usually a good source of information. I think their father and uncles all played their part in December 1941, either as Volunteers or in the Royal Scots. I shall ask the question on the FB group page and report what comes back. Regards Geoff

Hi there,

I had been reading Hong Kong Guns and Gunners again and found on page 50, there is a Map showing the arcs of fire of the batteries intended to be completed in 1887/1888.  Kowloon Dock is shown there.  Might help to fix its location a bit.

Best Regards,