"Old Hongkong" by "Colonial" | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

"Old Hongkong" by "Colonial"

"Old Hongkong" articles"  SCMP 1933
A series of articles on the history of Hong Kong taken from the South China Morning Post, June 17, 1933 - April 13, 1935 and rearranged alphabetically by subject At the Public Records Office or get a search pass or a free with an online SCMP subscriprion Book 951.25 JAR V1 Jarrett, V. H. G. Old HongKong, Index / by V. H. G. Jarrett


Colonial aka Vincent Jarrett also wrote a Nature Notes column for 2 or 3 years in the 1930s in the South China Morning Post under the pseudonym Vinjar, ,which gives some of the very very few references to the dhole (wild dog) in Hong Kong.I belive Vincent Jarrett died in Norway c. 1973

A compilation of the "Old Hongkong" articles, plus an index, are available to download at http://library.hku.hk/record=b4707057

There are five links:

  1. v.1, A - C, pages 1 - 270
  2. v.2, D - H, pages 271 - 577
  3. v.3, I - P, pages 578 - 842
  4. v.4, R - Y, pages 843 - 1134
  5. Index to the above

These documents are very interesting, I will mine them for useful info. 

i guarantee you will find very interesting stories

I hadn't realised that Jarrett's "Old Hongkong" was available online but was delighted to discover the actual five volumes at the PRO, and even more so to find my grandfather's and great-grandfather's names in the index of people's names. This is separate from the index of titles (not sure if it's included in the online test) and provides an interesting, although much more limited complement to the index for the Carl Smith's cards. I copied out some extracts from the article "HOTELS AND TAVERNS"  but don't find this title in the online index. The article adds some background to the previous discussion on early pubs and taverns and makes mention of Sean Olson's and my great-grandfather, John Olson, and Susann's great-grandfather, C.F.W. Petersen, so in case these extracts are of general interest, here they are: 

"HOTELS AND TAVERNS Vol 2, D-H, p. 503

 Reference was made the other day  (7-8-33) to the hotels and taverns that flourished in the Colony. It is evident that there were a large number of mere drinking shops in the earlier years of Hongkong, with picturesque names , and probably picturesque frequenters. These have now gone, and the only public bars are found in hotels. The reform was probably gradual, and brought about by the easy expedient of refusing licenses for those premises which were not bona fide residential hotels. One of the places in the list published, of premises in existence in 1860 was a late and lone survival up to about the Eighties, this being the “Land we Live in”, but all the public houses had gone by the beginning of this century; and the Licensing Board by keeping a close rein (under the good advice of the Inspector General of Police) on efforts to revive the mere drinking shop, had no doubt improved the tone of the Colony.

            We can conjure up, in the imagination, the scenes of old when ships discharged their crews ashore. Yet for a time, seamen were subject to much restriction, and partly for their own good and the fear of their contracting sickness ashore, were rigorously kept on board while in port. This iron discipline, we find it explained in the old chronicles, was due to the belief that malaria was contracted ashore. There is nevertheless an admission that the men fell sick of fever while aboard, and we know now that mosquitoes were able to reach the ships and take the fever out to the crews!"

pp. 503-04

"We find the following in the list of “taverns and seamen’s boarding houses” in existence in 1847, just six years after the occupation:

            In Queen’s Road. – Albion Tavern (W. H. McConnell), British and American Inn (Antony Rodrick), Britannia Tavern (Giovanni Gachi), Crown and Anchor Tavern (David Simeon), Commercial Inn (John Cockerell), Fortune of War (George E. Jones), London Tavern (John Benson) Phoenix Inn (John Meredith), Pilot Boat Inn (Henry Wilson), Prince of Wales (Robert Hemming), Victoria Tavern (Henry Hart) and Beehive Tavern (George McQuin).

In D’Aguilar Street – Rainbow Inn (Matthew da Costa)

In Queen’s Road with entrance also in Lower Bazaar – Neptune Tavern (George Mills).(…)

The old chronicle shows, however, that there was a distinction rigidly drawn between the abovementioned establishments and the genuine hotels. There was only one hotel in the Colony in 1847 and that was the British Hotel, managed by Mr Henry Winiberg, in Queen’s Road. We read of this place:

            'The British Hotel, the only one in Victoria, is conducted on a small but respectable scale: from the limited patronage accorded to such an establishment owing to the small influx of visitors who do not take up their quarters at the Club house (the Hongkong Club), prices are necessarily high; board and lodging for a single person without wines or beer is two and a half dollars per diem: a good billiard table, for keeping which an annual license of $101 is paid to Government, is also attached to the hotel.'

            The 1873 list [of hotels and taverns] (…) is taken from a report of the “Annual Licensing Meeting” held on November 7 of that year, and is as follows, nearly all taverns, with names of proprietors or license holders in brackets:

            National Tavern (John Olson), The Land We Live in (Louis Kirchmann), London Inn (Lawrence Young), Empire Tavern (John Hornby), Welcome Tavern (Joaquim Gomez), Hamburg Tavern (John Juster) Rising Sun (Henry Kirchmann), British Crown (Louiz K. Lobo), City of Hamburg )A. Wohlters), Army and Navy (Christian Kock), Victoria Hotel (Henry May), Royal Oak (P. Peterson [sic]), British Inn (Henry John Carr), Oriental Hotel (Wellington Street, Francis Francis), Star Tavern, formerly Diver’s Arms (Thomas Hollowell) Crown and Anchor (William Bristow), German Tavern (C.F.W. Peterson [sic]), Hotel d’Europe (Hollywood Road, Edward Estarico), Globe Hotel (T.H.O. O’Flaherty), Hotel de l’Univers (Virgil Favre), Sailor’s home (Jacob Fritz Schuster), Stag Hotel (J.R. White) Old House at Home (G. W. Elliot), Hongkong Hotel (Dorabjee Nowrojee) and British Hotel (Dorabje Nowrojee), and British Hotel (John McNulty).'

(…) p. 506

"The Hotel de L’Univers was opened in July 1873 and was situated in Wyndham Street (near Hollywood Road Junction). It had three billiard tables and residents could board there for the sum of $35 per month. V. Favre was the name of the proprietor. (…)"

p. 507

"The list of houses licensed in 1880 includes:

 German Tavern, 224 Queen’s Road Central, (W. Peterson [sic])

National Hotel, 200A Queen’s Road Central (John Olsen [sic])

Stag Hotel, 110 Queen’s Road Central (J. Cook , proprietor)

Star Hotel 142 Queen’s Road Central (F. D. Linde, proprietor)"

Jarrett also lists boarding houses, including Sailors Home, West Point and notes “some of these boarding houses were for Asiatic seamen and dated back to the Forties.”