Happy Valley racecourse 1914

Wed, 03/01/2023 - 00:59

I posted this battered photo a few years ago under the title "Royal_rose?" Moddsey confirmed that it was indeed Sir Paul Chater leading the pony Royal Rose after winning the Foochow Cup on 16 February 1914. Since then a kind Gwulo colleague has enhanced the photo for me. What is interesting with regard to the future Racecourse fire in 1918 is the precarious structure of bamboo struts propping up the matshed behind the Grandstand. With the enhancement and by magnifying the photo, these can be seen much more clearly. I don't know if this particular matshed was the fatal Unity Stand that collapsed. I believe the matsheds were rebuilt every year but the photo shows how frail the structure must have been  - and how low the acceptable safety standards were.

Date picture taken
16 Feb 1914
Shows person / people


I’m pretty sure I saw an identical copy of this image in one of the three volumes of old Hong Kong photographs published by Trea Wiltshire. I regret failing to buy that at the time as the photo doesn’t appear in her single volume publication “Old Hong Kong”. The three-volume version must still be around somewhere.