c.1930 View of Central & Harbour

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 21:07

Here's a good view over Central, taken in the late 1920's. We can see a couple of changes since the 1922 photo: the Central Fire Station (completed 1926) is there, as is the tall building next to the GPO. However there's no sign of the Gloucester Building that we see in the 1932 photo, instead this photo shows the Hong Kong Hotel is still standing.

So I'll split the difference and estimate this photo was taken in 1927, but if you have a more accurate date, please let us know.

UPDATE, 24 Apr 2010: Reader Bunce points out the Peninsula Hotel (1928) is visible in TST, so splitting 1928 & 1932, we've set the estimated date to 1930.

Some other things I noticed:

  • Down in the bottom right corner is the tower of the Roman Catholic cathedral, facing onto Glenealy. The cathedral is still there, but the tower has been demolished. The little white squares we can see on Glenealy are the covers of the sedan chairs. It must have been a good spot to catch customers who didn't fancy the walk up the steep hill.
  • A little to the left, and in the very foreground of the photo, we just see the roof line and garden of what looks to be an imposing building. I guess it's one of the buildings in the Old Peak Road photos. Does anyone recognise it?
  • Then in front and to the left of that building are several flat terraces leading from down to Robinson Road. They don't look well-kept enough to be a garden, so could it be a lot waiting to be re-developed?
  • Further to the left again is a bright, white building, the mosque in mid-levels.

What else is there of interest in this photograph? If there are any readers who know about old ships, can you tell us anything about the shipping in the harbour? The three-funnel ship (a warship I guess) looks very distinctive.

Regards, David

Reference: A32B

Date picture taken


Submitted by
80sKid (not verified)
Mon, 11/23/2009 - 14:13

one compound you can still recognise lies just above the cathedral tower. you can see st paul's church pointing down Glenealy and the bishops house with its distinctive tower beyond that. In between you can see the former dairy farm building, now the fringe and the fcc. On th far right you can Martin house on upper albert road; half of that building survives today. 

the anglican compound is part of the conserving central policy announced by the government: here's the link


The Imposing building (at the bottom) is Marble Hall, I believe it was Paul Chater's house, it was still there in 1945, but I don't know if it was damaged in the war. Chater Hall is now on that site. 

Directly below the garden of Marble Hall are vacant lots just to the west of the imposing mansion at no: 5 Robinson Road which belonged to the Lu Hing-hop family. Among the buildings eventually erected on the vacant lots is the distinguished no: 15 Robinson Road.

In addition to 15 robinson road  - the platform behind it (and below marble hall) where you can just make out a ramp coming up is still there. there's now some fading lowrise 1950s blocks on it; the wall looks pretty much the same, with some art deco embellishments from presumably whatever they built on it in the 1920s-30s. 

also anyone know when the roman catholic cathedral tore down the bell tower, known as a campanile, which stood separate from the actual church? Seen both 1930s and 1950s as dates

this pic from hedda morrison shows a similar view about 20 years later and shows what filled the gaps: 15 robinson road is the U-shaped building. The buildings in front have lost their roof - damage from the war presumably


80sKid, please could you let us have the Hedda Morrison link again? That site is fussy about which urls will work long-term - see notes here.

Thanks to you and Maidstone for the extra notes, and you get this week's good-eyesight award for spotting that ramp. I often look at it as I pass on the No 23 Bus, and think it looks interesting. I'll have to get off the bus and have a wander around there.

The campanile in front of the Catholic Cathedral was demolished in 1947 to make way for a school.

Source: http://dbdc.catholic.org.hk/cathedral.pdf

My guess is the campanile (of the Italian Convent?) that is seen up the hill in the 1922 photo would probably be the bell tower that is visible bottom right on Robinson Rd in the 1927 photo.


That's a good comparison photo - thanks for the link. In the Morrison photo you can just see the four 'spikes' on the top of the RC Cathedral's bell tower, peeping over the top of the building in front.

However the tower's central pitched roof seen in this earlier 1920s photo is missing.

We can cross off the 1930's option for its demolition. [Update: Moddsey beat me to it!]

Submitted by
bunce (not verified)
Thu, 04/22/2010 - 13:11

When magnified, you can see the Peninsula over in TST (opened 1928) which pushes the date forward slightly to c. 1930.

Submitted by
Jimmi (not verified)
Mon, 05/10/2010 - 12:51

In reply to by bunce (not verified)

Just came across this interesting website with a detailed antique plan from 1880 for the RC Cathedral that is presently next to Glenealy Gully. The map shows the proposed site as being between Arbuthnot Road and Caine Road which is not where the Cathedral is currently located. Perhaps the planned location was changed at a later date or the architects made some error in their drawings!




http://www.brianseed.com/product_info.php?ref=3&products_id=21476 - http://www.brianseed.com/images/framed/21476.png - Proposed New R.C Cathedral - Hong Kong.