Summer update - UK visit / H2 plans / Next photos | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Summer update - UK visit / H2 plans / Next photos

This is the Jetlag edition of the weekly newsletter. Today we flew back to Hong Kong after a few weeks in the UK visiting family & friends. Though it's past midnight there's no sign of anyone feeling sleepy ...

I'll start with a few "Gwulo-ey" places we visited in the UK, then look at plans for the rest of the year, and finish with a question about what photos you'd like to see here.

UK sights

We started with a few days in London. I'd tried to go to the National Army Museum there earlier in the year, but it was closed for renovation. It's the home of the Tyndareus Stone, which used to be up on the Peak, but was moved back to the UK before the handover. The museum has re-opened, so I made another attempt to see the stone. Unfortunately, after the renovation the stone has been moved into storage, so it is no longer on display.

Still, the museum was an interesting place to spend a couple of hours, but not big enough to need another visit for a few years. The Science and Natural History Museums are a different matter, and they are regular favourites. We've also started visiting the Victoria & Albert Museum, which I'd ignored in the past. The Science Museum has a new mathematics exhibition this year, that went down well with our 11-year-old daughter, while our 14-year-old preferred sketching in the V&A.

From London we collected a hire car and drove over to my hometown in southwest Wales. A rainy day gave me the excuse to visit a couple of museums along the Milford Haven waterway, starting with the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre. The centre has two main themes, the Naval Dockyard and Sunderland flying boats. The Naval Dockyard was a shipbuilding centre for the Royal Navy, so I wonder how many of the Navy's ships that visited Hong Kong were built there?

By the time of the second world war, shipbuilding had stopped but the harbour had a new military role. During the war years, it was home to a large fleet of Sunderland flying boats, and they continued to operate there until 1957. The museum has information about the Sunderland's role in Milford Haven, and also describes their ongoing project to recover Sunderland number T9044, which sank in the harbour in 1940:

The harbour's military importance meant it was defended by a ring of coastal batteries, just like the batteries around Hong Kong's harbour. A few miles from Pembroke Dock, the Chapel Bay Fort has been renovated and opened to the public.

Chapel Bay Fort Wales

I used to go exploring the local forts as a teenager. Most of them are now closed to the public, so it's good to see this one open and well attended. (If you're at Chapel Bay Fort around lunch time I recommend a visit to the Wavecrest Cafe, nearby at West Angle Bay.)

Movng north, we spent a week in a self-catering cottage to the east of Lancaster.  As we drove towards the cottage, I saw an aerial ropeway running overhead:

Aerial ropeway, Claughton - - 639705.jpg
By Humphrey Bolton, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

I paid closer attention the next time we drove past, and after noting the name of the village found it's Britain's last surviving industrial aerial ropeway, the Claughton Aerial Ropeway. Here's a description of the site, and a video of it in use.

Heading south again, we made a day trip to Chester where we met Yvonne Foley and her husband Charles. Yvonne has a very interesting story to tell, as she is a member of Liverpool's WW2 Eurasian community. Though we often hear about Eurasian families on Gwulo, I hadn't heard of this group before. Yvonne explained that the British Merchant Navy employed several thousand Chinese sailors during WW2. Some came from Hong Kong but most were from Shanghai and Singapore. When they weren't at sea they were based in Liverpool in the UK, and many of them started families with local women there. Those relationships came to an abrupt end, and the families were split up, when many of the sailors were forced to leave the UK after the end of the war. Sadly, few of the mothers and children would ever see their husbands and fathers again.

To read more about these events and Yvonne's search for families from this group, please visit her website.


Gwulo's plans for the rest of the year

The three main tasks I have on my to-do list are:

  1. Publish a book of Gwulo's photos & stories.
    The draft layout is ready, so the next steps are to have the final layout prepared by a professional, and the copies printed. I'm aiming to have the printed copies ready by November, so please let Santa know you'd like one in your Christmas stocking!
  2. Move the website to a new hosting provider.
    The reviews of the provider I'm planning to move to are very positive, so I'm hoping for better technical support than I currently get. As a bonus, their plans are also a bit cheaper than the current provider's, but provide more storage space for maps, photos, etc. (the Gwulo site is hitting the limits of the current plan we use).
  3. Add a "Street" page type, and then start documenting Hong Kong's streets.


What photos would you like to see?

Apart from the three larger tasks above, there's also the regular weekly newsletter to prepare. Now I'm back at my desk, I'm going to clean up some old photos to use for the next few newsletters.

I know what the first photo will be - a view looking northeast from the Peak that I bought just before summer. Then for the following photos, are there any you'd like to see? eg of a certain place or theme? Please let me know in the comments below, and I'll see if I have anything that matches.



New on Gwulo this week...

If you can add any more information about these, it will be gratefully received.


Nice to read about the RAF Sunderlands. No. 88 Squadron RAF based in Hong Kong operated Sunderlands up to 1954 and played an important role, particularly in reconnaisance and search and rescue. Due to cost-cutting, the Sunderlands were then transferred to Malaya and Singapore but paid frequent visits to Hong Kong. I think the last operational flight by a Sunderland to Hong Kong was in 1958 with the last flypast of 3 Sunderland aircraft being flown on 21 April 1958 over the Harbour and Kowloon for the Queen's Birthday Parade.

@"Those relationships came to an abrupt end, and the families were split up, when many of the sailors were forced to leave the UK after the end of the war. Sadly, few of the mothers and children would ever see their husbands and fathers again."

Does anyone know if it is really true that Chinese sailors, who were  formally married to British residents, were denied residency in Britain after the war? Or was it a case that they were posted to other merchant-marine assignments and made no effort to return later to their spouses?

I hope David can find a host who will guarantee long-term the continuation of his website. When I made enquiries about this some years ago I was unable to find any host willing to offer a website contract in excess of three years. They would also not guarantee a right of renewal.

Over the years I have witnessed a number of excellent historic-interest websites come and go. Their originators had spent thousands of hours building up some terrific research resources. They would be there with a "click" when you wanted to consult them or contribute additional material ( which was usually welcomed) and then suddenly without warning the site would go dead and all you could  get was "  HTTP Error 404.0 - Not Found   The resource you are looking for has been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable."

Because many of the website owners  had never provided a separate email contact,  it proved impossible to find out what had gone wrong. The sites simply disappeared into outer cyberspace with all the good work done lost for ever. was one such site. There it was possible to access a gallery of hundreds of thousands of ships' photos ( going as far back as the  19th century) indexed alphabetically. But in a "Woosh" ..... there it was -  Gone!  Perhaps the website owner had passed away; I cannot find out because he never publicly identified himself. And once the website payments stop.... its a simple "delete" click by the hosts with no explanation.

I wish David Good Luck !

Hi There,

Would the domain you mentioned be instead?    The directory is a blank but the domain is registered to a certain Tony Richardson according to  The domain is still valid until May 2018 though.    The hosting service provider previously involved appeared to be Storm Internet.

Information available is very limited.


Yes, thanks "tgnan" ,  that was the site. In my post I mistyped the "" the wrong way around. However, no amount of searching will lead me to his website on any other provider. There is another shipping gallery site ( not bad!) but that is divided into ship classes and is not so "friendly" to people like me who don't which category to look under.

Moddsey, thanks for the Sunderlands info. I've made a copy on its own page in case we can add any more information:

Chinarail, Yvonne's website has a page that looks into how the Chinese sailors were moved on from Britain, including some who were married:

You also raise a good point about how to preserve Gwulo's content for the long term. I've started work on a possible solution a few months ago, and if it works out well I'll provide more information.