c.1928 View from the Peak over Central and the harbour

Submitted by David on Sat, 09/10/2016 - 16:49
c.1928 View from the Peak over Central and the harbour

Where: No prizes for identifying the location of this one - we're up on the Peak looking out over Central and across the harbour to TST. It's been a popular subject for photos over the years, so I like to compare photos from different years to see how the view changes.

When: Look at the junction of Pedder Street and Des Voeux Road, and you'll see an empty spot where a building has been demolished. Here's a closer look at that section of the photo, with the site of the missing building marked in red.

Pedder St / DVRC / Ice House St / QRC

It was the north wing of the Hong Kong Hotel [1], destroyed by fire in 1926. Here's how it used to look:

c.1922 The best hotel in Hong Kong

Next look to the right where I've marked a building in green. That was another hotel, the King Edward Hotel [2], at the junction with Ice House Street:

1920s Ice House Street

In 1929, that was also damaged by a serious fire. Here's that zoomed in section again, followed by a similar view from c.1930:

Pedder St / DVRC / Ice House St / QRC


c.1930 Pedder St / DVRC / Ice House St / QRC

Look at the King Edward Hotel in the later photo and note that the roof is gone and the walls are held up by scaffolding while the interior is re-built. The building was re-opened in 1931, but as a bank and offices instead of a hotel.

Other changes between the two photos are a couple of new buildings that have appeared on Queen's Road. I've marked them in yellow and blue.

The blue, triangular-shaped building in the 1930 photo is at the corner with Zetland Street. It opened that year as the Industrial & Commercial Bank Building [3], then soon after was renamed to the Asia Life Building. I haven't identified the yellow building yet - suggestions welcome!

Returning to the date of the main photo, we know it was taken between the fires in 1926 and 1929, so I'll guess 1928. Please let me know if you spot anything that pins it down more accurately.

Who: I wonder who made this? Turning it over, we can see it was printed on photographic paper from "K Ltd", for sale as a postcard.

Back of postcard

But the quality of the printing wasn't good. Before I cleaned it up, it had light-coloured patches and dark spots.

Light patches



Dark spots

These aren't recent damage, they were in the original print. 

I thought it could be one of the postcards sold shortly after the end of the second world war. Pre-war negatives were pressed in to service and printed for sale to the visiting military forces. The negatives may well have suffered damage from mould and dust during the war years. Unfortunately the Playle's website [4] suggests the "K Ltd" paper wasn't sold after 1936, which puts an end to that line of thought!

Then if it was sold in the 1930s, who would sell (or buy!) such a poor quality postcard?

Gwulo photo ID: A079

Prints of this photo are available to buy in the shop.


  1. The north wing of the Hong Kong Hotel
  2. The King Edward Hotel
  3. Industrial & Commercial Bank Building / Asia Life Building
  4. Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes at Playle.com

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