Panorama of Hong Kong from Government House, showing the Fleet for North China Expedition

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 19:08

So much in this picture

The date is Thursday 1st March 1860 (can anyone tell the time from the shadow position of chimneys on Building F?) , all the ships and soldiers in the harbour are off to burn Beijing down to the ground because of interference in the European Opium  trade.... How many ships are there?

The Building key, corrections welcome.  

References mainly taken from the Map of A.F. Alves 1862


A Roman Catholic Cathedral – being reconstructed after a fire


B Wellington Street


C Harbour Master’s House on Peddar Hill


D Masonic Hall (1st Generation) Lot 31 / 34 [1846-????]


E Commercial Bank of India –failed in 1866

Above E, where the shoreline starts to turn is the Original Central Market

Going along Queens Road from E to F we have the following four buildings


Turner & Co

Bowra & Co

Royal engineers Office


F Exchange Building / Court House (later Supreme Court) and Land Offices


To the left of F across the street is the first Hong Kong club building

G Post Office (1st Generation on Peddar) Jan 1846- 1864

H Rustomjee & Co: Keying House / Oriental Hotel [1845-1868]

The Building work across the street from H is thje start of construction for the Agra Bank - Building on SE cnr of QRC & Wyndham St [1862-1920]


I Crosby’s Store/Lane Crawford

J George Duddell Building, Offices of Thomas Hunt and Co? later Jardines


Opium Dealer and holder of first Hong Kong Opium Monopoly with Alexander Mathieson in march 1845 (Their monopoly only lasted 3 months) By the age of thirty six George Duddell had made his fortune in Hong Kong by becoming an influential property owner. He was also government auctioneerA special Land committee set up in 1850 to examine excessive rents found half the land involved belonged to George Duddell.  He then 'retired' to England in 1858


K Dent & Co

L Lindsay & Co (From 1845 Map) – Mercantile Bank of India [1857-????]

M Russell & Co

N Victoria Buildings/Mercantile Bank

O Harbourmasters Office?

P ?  - Part of Wardley House?

Q Wardley House?

R Murray Battery

S Cricket Pitch/Chater Garden


T Augustine Head (Beaconsfield) –Now Court of Final appeal

Above this building on the Waterfront is a stone Wall – This is the back wall of the Royal Battery


U Central Government Offices

V North Barracks 1843-1960

W Murray House –Officers Mess

X Murray Barracks Block A 1843-1962

Y St Johns Cathedral

Z Murray Barracks Block B


1 Flagstaff House

To the right of Flagstaff are tents where Victoria Barracks will be built Scandal Point [????- ]

Just to the Left the Roof of Wellington Barracks can be seen

2 East Point – Jardine Matheson & Co compound

To the left in the middle of the bay is Kellet Island

3 Seamans Hospital

4 Offices Quarters Bungalows

5 Kennedy's Horse Repository - Garden Road

6 Telegraph Station

7 HSBC Manager's House and Sub-Manager's House - IL 580 [1861-1935]

[Source of images: Wellcome Collection, see]

Date picture taken
1 Mar 1860
Shows place(s)


Wow, what a photo! Great clarity for its age, nice patching to complete the panorama and brilliant analyses to identify the buildings.

The sun seems to be in the west/north-west. If so, it'd be late afternoon. Is it a trick question?

I think the ships were not moving, not yet, although they were aiming to exit the harbour.  They were too close together to be in a moving convoy, their sails not in place, and the wind appeared to be from the east of north east as indicated by two flags in the photo.  Is that Signal Hill I see in the photo?  This is one impressive view of the natural landscape.  Regards, Peter

I just posted the opposite view from Kowloon. In it you can see the military force encamped waiting to board the ships and sail for Beijing. 

View of First Arrival of Chinese Expeditionary Force taken from Kowloon
View of First Arrival of Chinese Expeditionary Force taken from Kowloon , by Felice Beato


The roof of Building D in the photo does not look like Zetland Hall 1st Gen, but looks very much to me like it's Zetland Hall 2nd Gen.

This raises a problem, as the photo is dated 1860 and ZH 1st Gen was only replaced in 1865. Not sure whether this means the photo is dated incorrectly or the regeneration of ZH dates are incorrect...?

Zetland Hall 2nd Gen