c.1908 Pedder Street
Where: The lamps on the building show the word "Hotel".
They light up the Hong Kong Hotel , so we're looking north along Pedder Street from near the junction with Queen's Road. The curved building in the distance was the Hotel Mansions building, later called the Union Building . At this time it housed an extension of the Hong Kong Hotel.
Who: It's a fascinating scene, with so many people coming and going. A few caught my eye...
Long before supermarkets were filled with shelves of shampoos and conditioners, these ladies have the secret of shiny hair all worked out!
To the right, a rickshaw puller is heading towards us. With the street as busy as this, I wonder how he cleared a path. Would he have a bell to ring, or just shout out a warning?
Next a selection of hats, a couple of broad-rim workmen's hats on the men walking away, and a bowler-hatted businessman heading our way.
Along the kerb are several rickshaws and sedan chairs, waiting for customers from the hotel. Over on the right these two are comparing notes about the day's business:
The other "who" in any photo is the person who first owned the photo. This one has an interesting story, which we'll piece together as we see other photos they bought. The first clue comes from the back of the photo, where they wrote:
They've got their street names muddled up, showing they're very recent arrivals.
|The Water Supplies Department are about to damage the historic Pillbox #2 at Jardines Lookout. Please sign the petition to stop this.|
When: The Chinese men in the photo are still wearing their hair in a queue, dating the photo to 1911 or earlier.
Not much earlier though, as the Hotel Mansions building was only finished a few years before in 1905.
If you squint through the trees you can make out the name of one of the shops in Hotel Mansions:
This was Kruse & Co., the tobacconists . I'd hoped they would help us narrow down the dates, but they moved in when the building opened, so no luck there.
The last clue I can spot is the hoarding and scaffolding on the left side of Pedder Street, surrounding a building site that belonged to Jardine, Matheson & Co. That does help, as we know they pulled down their old offices in 1907 , and the new building was completed in 1909 . I'll split the difference and date this photo to 1908.
|Prints of this and many other old Hong Kong photos are available to order.|
Photo ID: A436
- The Hong Kong Hotel
- Mansions Building / Union Building
- Kruse & Co.
- Duddell's / Hunt & Co. / Jardine, Matheson & Co.- ML 100 [1855-1907]
- Jardine House (2nd generation) [1909-c.1955]
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