Chapter 6 : Dens, ducks, and dives

Submitted by philk on Tue, 10/14/2008 - 21:00

Quite a few places mentioned here.

This is the chapter when the family move from the Fourseas Hotel (we have established this as being the current site of the Metropark Kowloon Hotel) to rented accommodation at 133 Boundary Street.

In the vicinity of the new residence was the original La Salle college, a well known local school.

Booth mentions Kowloon Tong being to the NW and "the wooded grounds of Kowloon Hospital" to the south.

He also makes his first foray into Kowloon Walled City and notes the city temple.

On a car drive in his fathers new car he mentions following the Tai Po Road, past a "deep blue reservoir" (probably Kowloon Reservoir, given its proximity to the road) and descending into Shatin. Amah rock is mentioned here also.

Shatin Dairy Farm Restaurant (aka Shatin Roadhouse) is where they stop for a drink.

Driving through Tai Po up through the Lam Tsuen valley to Yuen Long stopping at Kadoorie Beach and The Dragon Inn on the way back to Kowloon.

Swindon's Bookshop in TST is also mentioned (then on Nathan Road, now on Lock Road) as well as Shanghai Street.

1953 was the year of the coronation and the chapter includes a long description of some of the celebrations including the decorations covering the Alhambra Cinema on Nathan Road.

A trip over to the Island to watch the Queens Road coronation parade which included "nurses from the Bowen Road and Mount Kellet military hospitals"


Here are the places from this chapter that have been created so far. For more information about a place, either click its name in the list, or click its red marker on the map. Your are welcome to add another place - just remember to give it the tags golden boy, chapter 6 so that it shows up on the list and map below.

$view_args = array('389,395'); //Term IDs for 'golden boy' and 'chapter N' tags
$view_name = 'places_on_list_simple'; //name of view
$view = views_get_view($view_name);
if (!empty($view)) {
echo $view->execute_display('default', $view_args);

The map below is 'live': you can drag it around with your mouse, click the +/- buttons to zoom in and out, and click the Map/ Satellite/ Hybrid buttons to change the appearance of the map.

$view_args = array('389,395'); //Term IDs for 'golden boy' and 'chapter N' tags
$view_name = 'places_map_arg'; //name of view
$view = views_get_view($view_name);
if (!empty($view)) {
echo $view->execute_display('default', $view_args);

Booth wrote:

By early May 1953, Hong Kong was gripped by Coronation fever. A vast pi lau, a sort of Chinese triumphal arch, was erected across Nathan Road near the Alhambra cinema. Made entirely of bamboo poles lashed together by bamboo twine, it looked like the scaffolding on a building sit, within which it was intended to construct a pagoda-cum-watchtower. By the week before the Coronation, it was festooned with gold and scarlet decorations, a row of lanterns, a picture of the new Queen, and the letters EIIR.

And, thanks to one of our readers, here it is:

1953 Coronation Night Alhambra, Nathan Rd

Several of Greg Fripp's photos also show the decorations at that time:

QE2 coronation - HSBC
QE2 coronation - Harbour lights
QE2 coronation - Fireworks
QE2 coronation
QE2 coronation - Harbour lights from Kowloon

I remember walking by this gigantic display, and the coronation was the talk at family dinner table.  Also vividly remembered is that "Ping On" theatre on the west side of Nathan Road about a block north of Jordan Road.  There, I watched a movie of some glowing and crawling jello which landed on planet Earth via a returning rocket.  The nightmares the next several days triggered the start of grey hairs.

During its demotion, the theatre's roof collapsed killing close to a dozen workers.


Chapter 6 mentions the arrival of the new family car:

On his return to Hong Kong, my father had taken delivery of a Ford Consul saloon which he promptly had resprayed two-tone grey with white walled tyres: my mother, with her penchant for Chinese names, called it Ch'ing Yan, which translated as Lover.

Courtesy of the Booth family, here's the car in all its two-tone glory:

Ford Consul Ching Yan resprayed two-tone grey

Thanks to IDJ for sending in this map of the Castle Peak Bay area in the 1950s. Today it is the site of the Tuen Mun 'new town', but when Booth drove through the area he'd have seen a broad bay with fish ponds at the water's edge.

The road from Yuen Long runs down the right-hand edge of the map. At the bottom you can see it ran along the seashore. Castle Peak Road still follows the same route today, but after the Tuen Mun reclamation it is now far inland. (You can use the + and - buttons to zoom the map in and out)

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