1910s Praya Canton Steamer

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 19:46

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Date picture taken


I'm a bit confused! Which pier is shown here?

The ship is the  HongKong Canton & Macao Steamboat Co. steamer Honam which operated 1882 to 1925 (identified by Stephen Kentwell). Right hand of the pier is an urinal on the praya, the one that fits is the Urinal on Connaught Road, east of Gilman St Junction [1905-????].  This would mean the street we are looking at (between the buildings) is Gilman Street. 

On the building at the left one can read (Sinc)ere Co. Universal Providers. That doesn't match with the location of the Sincere Department Store [1915-1968] which is further west at the junction with Wing Wo Street, but there is no urinal. 

The urinal building is a strong indicator for the location near Gilman Street (there were only five urinals, see 1924 map). Possibly Sincere had a store east of Gilman Street before it opened its bigger one further west in 1915. Consequently, the photo is from the early 1910s or even older.

My current estimate now is that we see the Canton Steamboat Pier (2nd generation) which will later become the the Osaka Shosen Kaisha (O.S.K.) Wharf / Custodian Wharf

Confusion over!

The pier/wharf shown in this photo is the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Wharf (second generation) [1900-c.1958]

There are a few clues that convince me of the correct identification of the pier. One of the clues are the buildings behind on the right hand side, better seen here:

1910s Praya Canton Steamer
1920s Praya Canton Steamer, by Admin

There is a block of 9 houses between two streets. These should be Man Wa Lane and Hillier Street. The block of 9 houses can also be seen in this photo:

1927 Sheung Wan Wharves
1927 Sheung Wan Wharves, by Klaus


On a photo from 1950, the buildings can be seen a bit clearer.

1950 Sheung Wan Wharves
1950 Sheung Wan Wharves, by Klaus


 Of the houses on the left only a few are on the original photo, so there is no additional clue from this; except the cornice/sign on the roof.

Next is the roof on the pier with a round shape, this also appears on other photos of the Macau Wharf. Not visible is the stone building at the shore (as on the 1906 typhoon photos), possibly demolished.

And finally. the urinal. Quite sure that it is the Urinal on Connaught Road east of Man Wa Lane Junction [1903-????].

Still unsatisfactorily is the sign that might read Sincere Universal Providers. This is not the location where they had their store, moreover it is the location of the Wing On Department Store. 

The  #1186 - The Directory & chronicle for China, Japan, Corea, ... 1908. - Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library refers:

Sincere Co., The, Universal Providers, 111, Connaught Road, 215 to 221 DesVoeux Road, [store no. 2]

172, Queen's Road Central & 123, Wellington Street.[store no. 1]

Store no. 2 is located where the Wing On Store was situated later. According to the street index from 1938, house no. 111 is the 8th from right (from Ma Wan Lane) in the block shown on the left side.

So the photo should more from the 1900s than the 1920s.