1940s Peninsula Hotel

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 19:31

Received via email:

Here is another photo of the Peninsula Hotel which shows up the wartime camouflage colours better. The roofs of the KCR Station also appear to be blotched and darker than normal.
linked wartime photo of Arthur Ball's set on Flickr also shows the Pen in camouflage colours immediately after the war. [In Arthur's photo you can see the Japanese had been busy with the camouflage paint. Even the clock tower has been given a coat. MrB]

Date picture taken


What's that futuristic-looking round building in Arthur's photo, any ideas? It's a little to the right of the Peninsula, about where Chungking Mansions would be today.


Hi there,

According to the fifth article of this link (http://www.3pforum.com/bbs/thread-4834-1-9.html) in Chinese the site of the current Chungking Mansions had been a market place called the Chungking Market (重慶市場). During the Japanese Occupation the Japanese changed it's name to Chunghing (重興市場) Market so it did not resemble the wartime capital of China, Chungking (重慶)。

I am uncertain whether the description includes the round structure, however.


Hi there,

Further browsing brought me to this article, (http://www.fed.cuhk.edu.hk/history/history2001/japhkesch.doc) which in turn quoted page 104 of this book (http://libcat.hkpl.gov.hk/webpac_cjk/wgbroker.exe?200710261141280156579…)

<資料二> “尖沙咀彌敦道重慶大廈, 當時是弧圓形排列一層高平房式商場, 原名「重慶市場」, 為避免觸犯「重慶」兩字的忌諱(當時中國國民政府是以重慶作為陪都, 被日本人視為敵對分子), 改為「重興市場」。”--<<三年零八個月的苦難>>p.104

If translated, the main point of this paragraph described:

The Chungking Building on Nathan Road TST now was once a circular low-rise market place, original called the 'Chungking Market'............

Both the book and the CU document are in Chinese.

Best Regards,

Hi there,

Sorry, the link for the index search results might not work. For those interested in the book, here is the entry I found in the Central Library page.

Best Regards,

正在檢索: 書名關鍵詞 = 三年零八個月
顯示記錄: 第 3 個記錄
書目記錄號碼 897689 <------ seems to be the library index
著者: 謝永光 1928-
書名: 三年零八個月的苦難 / 謝永光著.
出版者: 香港 : 明報, 1994.
稽查項 436 頁 : 插圖 ; 20 公分.
備註: 含參考書目.
標準號碼 9623576706 <------ seems to be the ISBN number

Submitted by
sentinel (not verified)
Fri, 10/26/2007 - 15:33

In reply to by T (not verified)

this is a great photo of the the area from the govt website - looks like a building behind chungking mansions replaced it, or maybe they both did. Anyone know what the building behind the old YMCA was?

http://hkclweb.hkpl.gov.hk/hkclr2/object?svc=objrtv&src=CM&itemid=AHH11….. can anyone download this. I can't at the moment

Hi there,

On second thought, giving the construction site of Star House had been boarded up as shown in the photo, it was more likely be taken somewhere in the last few years of the 1950's and the first few years of the 1960's.

The Star House is well known to be built by Mr Fok Ying Tung in the early 1960's, but was sold to Hong Kong Land soon after it's completion owing to the difficulties of getting telephone lines installed.

I will check the foundation stone of Star House the next time I go there and see if there are further clues. ie. if there is one. :-)

Best Regards,

You can see the TST-East reclamation is underway in the distance. The 'Mapping Hong Kong' book has an air survey photograph of Kowloon dated 1964. In the survey photo, the reclamation looks to be more complete than in the photo above.


Hi there,

I was just bored in the office yesterday and the BOSS was not around :-P, so I fired up Firefox and try to use Google for some keyword search. I search in Chinese and I think I hit something while using "戰前 +重慶大廈" or similiar combination of other phrases and get those document links I quoted. The rest was just more cross reference with Wiki.......

Best Regards,

Hi there,

The aerial photos in the book were taken on or before 1964, as mentioned in the Preface. I just browse page 52 for Tsimshatsui again and found by the time they took that picture, the construction of the Ocean Terminal had already taken place. As for Star House shown in the same photo, it seems they are working on it's foundation and/or the basement. Pity, they do not have the information of the individual photos.

As for TSTE, I remember back in the late sixties/early seventies there had been temporary structures resembling a barrack between Chatham Road and the railroad tracks. Those could be found in the same page. These same temporary metal tube look alike structures could also be seen in Causeway Bay where the Central Library now lies (It used to be the Army's football field).

Best Regards,

Aha! I'm missing out on a lot of good information by not reading Chinese. Glad to have some regular visitors like yourself who can help access the Chinese-language information.

Regards, MrB

By E-mail:

The HKPL gives the publishing date of the photo in question as 1963 which would make sense as Chungking Mansions was completed in 1961. The President Hotel (forerunner of the Hyatt) also appears in the photograph.
Another photo from the HKPL archive dated 1961 show that the President Hotel had not been built yet.

To see these photos make an advanced search in the photos collection for:

Part A : Title Keyword : tsim sha tsui ( 100% accuracy )
and Pub. Date : 1950 to 1970


Submitted by
Raymond Lo (not verified)
Sun, 10/28/2007 - 19:37

In reply to by David

As the Sands Theatre is visible in the photograph,the photograph was probably taken in late 1963 or early 1964.
The Sands Theatre opened to business on 19th July,1963.

Regarding the Chungking Arcade, there is an article by Mr. Cheng Po Hung from a Chinese newspaper web site.

The photo the following article is referring can be found in http://image.wenweipo.com/2007/10/11/ed1011c3.jpg






Nathan Road, 1951

 Peninsula Hotel is on the left. Some exhibitions of Hong Kong products were held at the right area, where Sheraton Hotel was built in 1970.

 The Star and the Rose Hotels can also be seen at the junction of the Middle Road and Nathan Road. Both became the skyscrapers later .

 In 1930s, the Chungking Arcade was built beside the Rose Hotel. It was demolished in mid 1950s for building the Chungking Mansion. Since 1930s, the Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui has become the famous tourist area.


A similar photo can also be found in Hedda Morrison's collection taken in 1946 which the Chungking Arcade can actually be seen (the one storey building next to the Rose Hotel on the left) though the round shaped structure is not in the photo.


Here is another one which I think from the same batch of photos. The photo shows the Star Theatre (later itt was rebuilt and become Sands Theatre) at Hankow Road and Peking Road.  The TST in the 50s really had the feel of small American town; that weren't too many Chinese signs and shops were very colorful.

Follow the link and find post #278