1957-8: Andrew Suddaby's photos | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1957-8: Andrew Suddaby's photos

Thanks to Andrew Suddaby for uploading over 200 of his photos showing Hong Kong in 1957-8:

Central, Connaught Road and Law courts

Over to Andrew ...


An amazing year in Hong Kong

In 1957 I was half way through my National Service in the Royal Air Force. I’d spent the first year living in bleak wooden huts on various camps in England, but now I was bound for Hong Kong.  It’s strange to recall but I even had to look up ‘Hong Kong’ in an atlas to find out where I would be spending the last year of my National Service.  It wouldn’t be on yet another wooden-hutted camp in some remote and boring area of Britain; it would be to the exotic and mysterious Far East.  Yes, in the 1950s Hong Kong was still both.

The end of October 1957 saw me going abroad for the first time and flying for the first time in a wonderful if somewhat noisy B.O.A.C. Argonaut.  Three and a half days later it landed on the old runway at Kai Tak - the one that preceded the one jutting out into the harbour.  My first, rather worrying, sight of Hong Kong was of people waving at us from their flats level with the plane as it dropped down literally between some buildings in Kowloon.  

The day I arrived it was a glorious, sunny morning and, having been taken across the harbour to North Point by R.A.F. launch, a Chinese funeral procession passed by.   So this is what the exotic East is like!  And the R.A.F. camp at Little Sai Wan (Siu Sai Wan) was modern and so different to anything that I had previously experienced, with great swimming just round the Point.  Yes, that spot is still there and nostalgia drew me back to it whenever I re-visited Hong Kong.

Little Sai Wan. Pals on the sunbathing rocks

For the next year I marvelled at what seemed a different world.  The sights, the smells, the unfamiliar sounds, the rat-a-tat of mah-jong tiles, the clanking of the trams, the exotic fruits in the street markets but, I’m afraid to tell, so little of the wonderfully different food.  In Britain a purchase tax of 45% was still levied on most things but in Hong Kong, everything was a bargain.  On the other hand, one couldn’t help but feel sorry for all those people doing their best to scratch a living in such a crowded place.  I spent as much of my very limited pay as I could afford on rather expensive Kodachrome film and I have often wished that I’d had more to record Hong Kong before it changed for ever.  I hope that you enjoy seeing my photographs, taken nearly sixty years ago.  If you are old enough, they might even bring back some memories for you.  Sometime soon, I hope to add more colour photographs that I took in 1981 and 1987.

Andrew Suddaby


(You can click any of the photos below to see other readers' comments, and / or leave your own.)


Central, The Peak tram

Ship at mooring

Star Ferry, new pier and car park

Star Ferry, upper deck

New Territories

Cheero Club.jpg

Airmen's Mess Christmas 1957

Airmen's Mess Christmas 1957

1950s Hennessy Road

1950s Johnston Road

Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter

Central, Banks from Cricket Ground

Central 'Rogues' Alley

Central, Banks from Star Ferry car park

Central, butcher's shop.JPG

Central, from Peak

Central, butcher's shop

Central, Cenotaph from Jackson road

Central, Central Market, Queen Victoria Street

Central, Connaught Road and Law courts

Central, Connaught Road quay

Central, Connaught road, Blake pier

Central, Cricket ground from Cheero Club

Central, from Peak tram

Central, from Peak

Central, from Star Ferry

Central, Connaught Road Waterfront

Central, Connaught Road Waterfront

Central, Garden Road, Murray Barracks

Central, Ice House Street

Central, Kings Theatre, Queens Road Central

Central, Law courts and old Star Ferry pier

Central, Peak and old cannon

Central, Peak view over Central

Central, The Peak, Lugard Road

Central, Pottinger Street

Central, Pottinger Street

Central, Wellington Street

Central, Queens Road alley

Central, Queens Road

Central, Queens Road

Central, Queens Road Central, behind Central market

Central, Wellington Street

Central, Queens Road

Central, Queens Road

Central, 'Rogues' Alley

Central, street market off Queens Road

Central and the harbour from the Peak tram

Central, over to Kowloon from the Peak tram

The Peak, Mt Austin road turn-off for Lugard Road

Central, Waterfront from Star Ferry

Central, Wyndham Street lower end

Star Ferry, new pier and car park

Star Ferry, Old Pier

Kennedy Town, Dragon boat races

Kennedy Town, Dragon boat races

Kennedy Town, Dragon boat races

Kennedy Town, Dragon boat races

Kowloon, waterfront from Star Ferry

Kowloon, From Castle Peak Road

Kowloon, Leaving Star Ferry

Kowloon, Leaving Star Ferry

CausewayBay from Tiger Balm Gardens

Wan Chai, Glouceste Road, Fenwick pier, U.S. Navy shore patrol

Wan Chai, Gloucester Road, Missions to Seamen

Wan Chai, HMS Tamar and ships from China Fleet Club

Wan Chai, HMS Tamar from China Fleet Club Arsenal Street side

Wan Chai, Jaffe Road towards Methodist House

Tiger Balm Gardens

Tiger Balm Gardens

Tiger Balm Gardens

Tiger Balm Gardens

Tiger Balm Gardens, pagoda

Tiger Balm Gardens

Tiger Balm Gardens

Tiger Balm Gardens, Andrew

Tiger Balm Gardens, nearby terrace fields

Chai Wan from Cape Collinson Road

Chai Wan fields from Cape Collinson Road

Chai Wan fields from Cape Collinson Road

Chai Wan and Junk Bay from Cape Collinson Road

Chai Wan from Cape Collinson Road

Top of Cape Collinson Road

Top of Cape Collinson Road

Chai Wan War Cemetery

Chai Wan War Cemetery

Chai Wan War Cemetery

Chai Wan War Cemetery

Big Wave Bay

Big Wave Bay

Pottinger Peak

Shek O

Shek O

Shek O

Shek O

Shek O

Shek O

Shek O

Shek O

Shek O

Aberdeen, children on quay

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Aberdeen Tony and sweets

Aberdeen the quay Wu Nan Street

Aberdeen

Aberdeen

Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau

Stalls on Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau

Slipways Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau

New Territories

New Territories, approaching Hin Tin

New Territories

New Territories

New Territories?

New Territories

New Territories

New Territories

New Territories

New Territories

New Territories

New Territories

New Territories

New Territories

New Territories

Yuen Long

Yuen Long

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

Tai Po Market, Fu Shin Street

New Territories. Tai Po Market Fu Shin street

New Territories. Tai Po Market Fu Shin street

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories. Tai Po Market

New territories. Tai Po Market

New Territories.

New Territories. Sha Tin

New Territories. Sha Tin

New Territories. Sha Tin

New Territories. Sha Tin

New Territories. Sha Tin

New Territories. Sha Tin

New Territories. Sha Tin

New Territories. Sha Tin

New Territories. Sha Tin

Rev. Yuet Kai, 10,000 Buddhas Temple Shatin

Tai Tam Tuk reservoir

Tai Tam Harbour

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan from the Cape Collinson road

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan from the Western Headland

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan from the road above camp gate

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan. The camp gate

Little Sai Wan. The road up from the camp.The Royal Navy in Junk Bay

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan from the Cape Collinson Road

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan from the top of the camp road.

Little Sai Wan. Pals at the top of the camp road.

R.A.F. sign at the top of the camp road.

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan towards the gate from the N.A.A.F.I. stairs.

Lighthouse. Andrew.

Little Sai Wan aerial mast at the Point

Little Sai Wan fishing junks.

Little Sai Wan Junk Bay

Little Sai Wan Pals at the Point.

Little Sai Wan path to the lighthouse

Little Sai Wan The Point. Old buildings

Little Sai Wan The Point Andrew

Little Sai Wan. Pals at the Point

Little Sai Wan. Pals on the sunbathing rocks

Little Sai Wan towards Devil's Peak from the Point

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan. View from my room

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan. View from Room 53 balcony

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan sunset.

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan balcony view

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan view from Room 53

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan. A wet day

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan after the rain

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan. Andrew in his k.d.uniform

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan. Chung, our amah

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan. Inside Room 53

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan Andrew's bedspace.

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan. Pals on the balcony

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan. Christmas 1957, Room 53

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan. Room 53

Wan Chai. Gloucester Road quay, China Fleet Club.JPG

Wan Chai, Jaffe Road police flats.jpg

R.A.F. Little Sai Wan ex Cave Window

Cape Collinson Lighthouse ex Cave Window

Matshed theatre on car park

Matshed theatre on car park

Brian resting in valley on Cheung Chau

R.A.F. Batty's 1958

1950s Roxy, Causeway Bay

Kowloon station concourse

Kowloon station on board the train

Kowloon station on board the train

Kowloon station platform

1950s Hennessy Rd / Queens Road East Junction

harbour SW side 2005

Site of seat on Cheung Chau

Thanks again to Andrew for showing us his photos. If you have any photos of old Hong Kong you'd like to share on Gwulo.com, please click here for details of how to upload them: http://gwulo.com/node/2076

Also on Gwulo.com this week:

Comments

Many thanks for Andrew's photos. They bring back many fond memories of HK. And of course a big thank-you to David, too.

Did Andrew Suddaby know Neil Collins at this time. I was aged 10 in 1954 and 'Uncle Neil' was befriended by my parents around this time.

Hello, 1954 was a bit before my time.  I was only at R.A.F. Little Sai Wan between October 1957 and September 1958.  The camp's population would have been about 500 young men but it was constantly changing as we arrived from and returned to the U.K.  However, there was a lad called 'Tex' Collins (I never knew his first name) who was billeted in a room a few doors from mine on the top floor of Gibson Wing.  I do not have any photographs of him but I recall that he was much smaller than me and had straight dark hair. Hope that helps. Andrew

Thanks so much for sharing these.

Thanks to Andrew for those wonderful photos!  I have had a great time looking at them as they are of the Hong Kong I knew... We retired to UK in 1959, so it was like looking into my past.   How uncluttered HK was then, all levels of the Peak were not covered with high rise flats;  Chung Chau Island was a quiet beach;  rickshaws were still available.  The coloured photos of the Tiger Balm place are beautiful.

Barbara

Thank  you Barbara.  I was never sure whether my old photographs were worth uploading onto David's website, so it's good to hear that they are giving pleasure to some people.  I am currently working my way through those that I took in 1981 went I took my wife to show her how exotic Hong Kong was - and I think that we arrived just in time before it all changed for ever. Andrew

Hello Barbara, I've just realised that you're the lady who features every now and again on Tony Banham's website and that you were interned at Stanley.  Ron Murray, an ex colleague of mine in Carlisle, was interned there with his father and two (?) brothers.  In 1941 he would have been seven or eight ears old..  They lived in a garage of, I believe, Bungalow C - the one next to the one that was bombed later in the war.  When I took my wife in 1981 we managed to find it and I took photographs for him.  He said it hadn't changed a bit!  Ron died a few years ago, following several years of illness, that was probably due to the poor diet you all had to endure.  However, I saw on Tony's website (February, 2015) that Ron had made a return trip in 1995, and, if I'm not mistaken, you're standing next to him in a photograph. It's a small world!  Each year between 2000 and 2007 I went back for a week in November or December to explore the battlefields using Tony's and Tim Ko's books as my guides - as well as to indulge in my own bit of nostalgia around Litle Sai Wan (Sui Sai Wan) and other once familiar places.  In 2007, I took a group of about 30 people and guided them around the places that we had known in the 1950s,as well as giving them a potted history and 'tour' of some of the battlesites.  One of the babies born at Stanley was another colleague in Carlise - Alan Weir.  My very best wishes, Andrew

Hi Andrew,

Barbara is a regular contributor here too - you can read her latest article from last month at http://gwulo.com/node/28070, and at the bottom of that page there are links to her other articles.

I've made a page for Ron (http://gwulo.com/node/28877) to add him to the list of Stanley internees. We already have a page for Alan (http://gwulo.com/node/11336), and to round things off nicely he is mentioned in Barbara's diary: http://gwulo.com/node/11336/backlinks

Regards, David

Received by email:

Many Thanks for posting Andrew Suddabys pictures. I lived in the New Territories aged 7, 1959 and they brought back a lot of Memories. I still have my Shek Kong School badge from the time. I enjoy all the newsletters.

Tricia Davies Nee Fryer 

Hello Andrew,

The colour picture of Queen Vitoria Street showing the Central Market on the left is a perfect tool for creating  a "Now and Then" shot of the same street. The facade of the Central Market Building has not changed a bit over 60 years which is really rare in the ever changing Hong Kong. 

Tai Wong , Mississauga,Canada

I worked at Battys Belfry (Belvedere) from April to December 1958, so presumably came

across Andrew, although in a different intake. we were Linguists and were stationed at

Little Sai Wan1 Many thanks for the memories Andrew.

Alistair Miller

Hi Alistair,

I was at Little Sai Wan between October 1957 and September 1958 but didn't work at Battys.  However, our memories of those days  must be broadly the same, so I'm pleased that you have enjoyed seeing my photographs from 1958.  Even some of the 1981 and 1987 photographs might rekindle memories.  I shall soon be uploading some that I took in November 1987 when  I made a special trip out to Hong Kong especially to have a look round the old camp before it was demolished, so keep looking!

Best wishes. Andrew

Hi Alistair,

We've also got a page for Batty's Belvedere at: 

http://gwulo.com/RAF-Battys-Belvedere-Hong-Kong

Any photos or memories you can add to that page will be very welcome.

Regards, David