c.1901 - "The Naval Department Buildings, Queen's Road"
When: This photo is one of set taken by R C Hurley  around 1901-1902, and published as a collection titled "Views of Hong Kong".
Where: The photo shows the stretch of Queen's Road that we call Queensway today. We're facing west so the sea and the Navy's buildings are on our right.
Here's a map of the area from the 1880s:
I think the buildings A & B in the current photo are the light-brown buildings on the map, in the area marked "Naval Yard". Then building C is shown in pink on the map and marked "Commissariat" .
Here's another view of buildings A & B from the 1890s, as seen from Scandal Point.
A later map from the 1920s  shows building A titled:
No. 2 & 3 Stores
Building B is still there but without any title, and building C appears to have been re-developed. Of course it's hard to tell from a map whether the building shown is the same one we see in the photo, or a different generation of the building on the same site. If you have any photos that show this area during these years, please could you upload them to Gwulo  for us to see?
Who: People walking, carrying, pulling.
These early 20th-century photos always impress me with how busy the streets are, but with everything powered by manual labour. Even this larger cart doesn't get a horse:
Counting the feet there look to be seven or eight people pulling it. Men or women? We can't see, but this letter from 1916  describes a group of women pulling a similar cart:
The are some queer sights over here, the poor women dragging great loads on waggons through the streets, just like horses, they don't seem to mind, they are talking away to one another all the time, & pulling for all they are worth, and all the people who live on the sampans, its marvelous how they do live.
What: Here's a closer view of the cart:
What do you think it was used for?
I guess the riveted box was a water tank, with a curved pipe extending out the back. Then the cart could have been used to spray water on the road to keep the dust down. Better guesses welcome!
A big thank you to Janet Hayes for giving me this photo. Her envelope arrived a few weeks ago, so Christmas has started early!
As this is my last message before the holidays, let me wish you and your family a very merry Christmas, and safe travels if you're heading away from home.
Photo reference: NDA11
Also on Gwulo.com this week we've got a couple of accounts of life on Broadwood Road:
Please add a comment to either of those pages if you can add more memories of Broadwood Road.
- R C Hurley: http://gwulo.com/node/22682
- The Commissariat handled supplies for the British Army: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commissariat#British_Army
- c.1924 map of "Cantonment of Victoria". Copy available at Survey & Mapping Office, their ref HG7. Contact: http://www.landsd.gov.hk/mapping/en/pro&ser/outlet.htm
- How to upload a photo to Gwulo: http://gwulo.com/node/2076
- Letter from Daisy Glendinning, newly arrived in Hong Kong, to her sister Lily in Australia: http://gwulo.com/node/22606