Chinese funeral passing Fourseas Hotel

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 19:53

Photo courtesy of the Booth family

Date picture taken


The Out-Patients was on the same side as the Four Seasons Hotel, in Argyle Street. I attach a 2004 photo when I last visited. 

Out Patients Argyle Street
Out Patients Argyle Street, by Stephen Roberts


I lived in the Kowloon City Police Station Married Quarters in Argyle Street in 1953, (aged 8/9) then went on leave to UK, returned and stayed at the Four Seasons for about 3 months until we could move back into a different flat at the Married Quarters, in 1954.  I was given my first bicycle then and used to fill up the tyres at the Caltex Station air pump on the RHS of the forecourt. From the Four Seasons I walked to KJS passing the Caltex station.  There was a white round Caltex sign with their red star on a tall pillar at the LHS.  The route from the Married Quarters to the Station was down a slip road that ran on both sides of Argyle Street. The Out Patients had not changed from the 50's when I visited.  I was driven there by my sister and had 3 stitches in my left palm in 1953, and was taken back the next day to apologise for swearing during the stitching!.  The waiting area had wooden benches in rows facing the left, and I told my son what to expect when we walked in and there were the benches, as before. We had a car when at the maried Quarters and filled the tank at the Caltex Station.  Lastly, I had friends living in Kadoorie Avenue and would walk down Argyle St past the Caltex Station, cross to the CLP building and walk up the stairs at the RHS to Kadoorie.  The Harvey family (Cecil and Leslie) lived on the RHS at the top of the stairs. The stairs are still there, see photo. 

Stairs To Kadoorie Ave CLP Building
Stairs To Kadoorie Ave CLP Building, by Stephen Roberts


Of course this was 67 years ago and we remember what we think we remember. As an afterthought, funerals often began at the mortuary at the bottom of the other exit ramp from Kowloon General Hospital (as was). I often sat on the bank looking into the morgue while the preparation were made.

I flew out by Super constellation in November 1956 (the Suez crisis sent us via Karachi, Basra and Constantinople) so the station may well have gone soon after.  When I visited in 2004 the flyover confused me, but we walked up from St Theresas and I took my son round the corner to the CLP building telling him I was looking for the stairs and they were there.  We then crossed to the Out Patients and went in and again I told him how it used to be before we walked in and it was the same. I have a photo taken the same day, standing by where the morgue used to be, of course the Camp had gone and new builds had totally changed the landscape, on both sides of Argyle Street.

Thanks for the site, it gives me so much pleasure.

Amazing picture.  Thank you.  I am sure others get the same feeling when one of your pictures brings up memories from childhood, which have long drifted into the shadows. Just visible in the top left background are the "Bank Flats" at the end of Nga Tsin Wai Road. Before the Hill was taken away for the new Kai Tak strip, No 162 Nga Tsin Wai Rd was a detached 3 story house facing down College Road.  My friend lived there and I had line of sight from the house to No 3 Flat of the Police Married Quarters across the Road from the mortuary. With the sun right we could use mirrors to shine from verandah to verandah.  Also his Gibbon Monkey could be heard in the evening ("Vooot-da!"). I mention this to point out the lack of high rise which is now universal and also the quiet in the evening in Kowloon City. Without TV and with 1 Radio station family evenings were spent on verandahs in the cool quiet.


On 21st April 1963, while posing with my new bride and the family on the steps of St Teresa's Church,  a traditional funeral procession  with much clanging of cymbals and beating of drums passed down Prince Edward Rd  a few feet away. Since my Chinese bride was not at all fazed by the situation I have always interpreted it as being a sign of good luck and so it has proved   in our case.