Victoria Peak Weather Station [????- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Victoria Peak Weather Station [????- ]

Zooming in the photo of 1920s Houses at the Peak reveals the following:


Zoom-in 1 of 1920s Houses at the Peak

I would suggest that the structure on the top of the hill on the left of the above zoom-in is Belvedere while the structure on the top of the hill on the right of the above zoom-in is the weather station, with the Eyrie in the valley in the middle.  The post on 1890s Austin Arms Hotel also reveals this scene.

Indeed hfsiu had asked the question about the buildings and structures at the peak here, and annelisec's advice agrees with my observation, except that the structure labelled as '8' was not addressed.  I believe that '8' is the weather station shown above.  We can also see that annelisec's photo The Very Top of "The Peak" c.1880 also reveals this structure just overlooking the "Signalman's House" and of course the signal station and flagstaff further to the right.  The following zoom-in of the 1920s Houses at the Peak also reveals this scene.

Zoom-in 2 of 1920s Houses at the Peak

I have not yet been able to locate the exact year of the establishment of the weather station at the peak, but the first report of the Director of the Hong Kong Observatory Dr William Doberck dated November 1883 already mentioned the station at the peak: "His Excellency the Governor has already offered Sir Robert Hart the co-operation of the Hongkong Observatory, which is, owing to its (in meteorological aspects) un-equalled situation, its connection with a high level station on Victoria Peak, ...".  In his report for the year 1884, he also mentioned "At Victoria Peak observations of the barometer, dry and damp bulb thermometers, direction and force of the wind, clouds, sea and state of the weather are made at 7 a. 10 a. 4 p. 7 p. and 10 p... The rainfall is collected in two gauges.  One of them is an old roof-gauge.  The other is placed one foot above the ground."  So it is rather clear that the weather station had already existed before 1883.

Further views and suggestions are very much welcome!

CM Shun

Photos that show this place


aerial shot of the whole area from 1980 - not sure if that helps: f=search&t=search_datas.jsp&path=channelid=230719|searchword=peak|keyword=peak

Based on the 1980 photo I've moved the marker slightly north to what looks like the highest point.

Found further information on the weather station from the annual reports of the Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, as follows.

1919 Director's Report

Peak Anemograph - The naval signalmen who looked after the Peak Anemograph were withdrawn by the Naval Authorities in May.  It has since been necessary to send an assistant from the Observatory to change the sheet.  From motives of economy the sheet is only changed once in two days.  The consequent overlapping of the register is objectionable but will, it is hoped, soon cease, the local Government having decided to re-open the station as a signal station, and utilise the services of signalman for looking after the anemograph and making meteorological observations six times daily.

1920 Director's Report

Peak Anemograph - Signalman Osborne was in charge of this instrument from March 9 until May 31 when he resigned on account of ill health.  He was replaced by Signalman McGrann on June 28.  In the interval the sheets were changed daily by a computer from the Observatory.   

1922 Director's Report

Meteorological Observations at Victoria Peak - These were so unsatisfactory that they were discontinued in December by order of His Excellency the Governor.

1924 Director's Report

Peak Anemograph - The Anemograph at the Peak Signal Station was repaired by the Public Works Department and brought into use again on January 14.

1928 Director's Report

The Anemograph Hut at the Peak was demolished on December 7, the site being required for a wireless mast.  A new Hut was erected on a site 28 feet North and 53 feet East of the centre of the old Hut.

1939 Director's Report

The Beckley instrument was dismantled at Victoria Peak on the 5th January.... Registration by Dines anemographs was commenced at Victoria Peak on the 19th January, ...

1946-47 Director's Report

The observing station on Victoria Peak was destroyed; it will not be restored until other more important needs have been met.

1949-50 Director's Report

An attempt to obtain regular meteorological observations from the summit of Tai Mo Shan was unfortunately a failure.  The equipment was set up in August, and blown down in the typhoon of 8th September.

From the above, it becomes evident that:

(a) the weather station was operated by the Signalman of the Naval Authorities and the equipment was maintained by the Observatory;

(b) the weather station was part of the Peak Signal Station;

(c) the weather station was in a bad shape to the extent that it was ordered to be discontinued by the Governor in 1922.  Its operation resumed in January 1924.  Given the date of the photo also determined to be in the same year, it is probable that the photo was taken when or shortly after the station operation resumed;

(d) the weather station was destroyed during WW II.  It was not restored after the war.


I have posted photos taken today to and from the Peak Radio Station where the Weather Station was, for comparison with the historical views: (ex-Weather Station) (ex-Mountain Lodge, the Eyrie & Belvedere) (ex-Eyrie, Belvedere, Weather & Signal Stations)


Page 88 of Kelly & Walsh's "A Hand-Book to Hongkong", published in 1893, says:

The small building on the highest summit of the Peak was erected for meteorological instruments.

The book was reprinted by the Oxford University Press in the 1980s as "The Hongkong Guide 1893".

Regards, David

From HKGRO, the first recorded meteorological observations that I could find that were taken on the Peak for temperature, air presssure, winds and rainfall appeared in the Government Gazatte on 22 July 1876.

Further to the previous post, from HKGRO again, a register of temperature and air pressure was maintained at the Block House at the Signal Station on the Peak from 1860. The Harbour Master's Office was responsible for the register.

This photo has some white wooden items in the foreground, that look as though they might be related to the weather:

Regards, David