Gwulo's 2007 Top Ten | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Gwulo's 2007 Top Ten

There are more surprises in the 2007 Top Ten, starting with number ten itself:



#10 - 1950s Wanchai (14,328 views)

1950s Wanchai


The surprise is that this was never sent out as a newsletter, so instead it has gathered its own views over the years. It is a great scene, and photos of trams are always popular. But I guess it's the discussion in this photo's comments that brings in the viewers. We got talking about when the trams in this area changed direction, and that would attract people asking Google about the topic.

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#9 - Tunnels under Hospital Hill (14,399 views)

In 2007 I was still working through my curiosity about the old Air Raid Precaution (ARP) tunnels, and went looking for signs of the tunnels under Hospital Hill - the hill where the Ruttonjee Hospital stands today. It was a good outing, with several unexpected discoveries.

The old Wanchai Market was still standing, so I could get this view of one of the tunnel portals from the market's roof.

Wanchai Road ARP Tunnels


Down at ground level the portal was in good shape ...

Wanchai Road ARP Tunnels


... and one of its pillars still had a pulley wheel at the top.

Wanchai Road ARP Tunnels


There were several other interesting finds along the walk, but my favourite was near the end. Along a lane I found this portal still had its sliding gate in place - I think it's the only one that still exists. Originally the gate slid up and down on rails, with a cable running over the pulley and down to a counterbalance that helped make the gate easy to lift.

Wanchai Road ARP Tunnels


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#8 - KMB bus tickets, 1950s (14,726 views)

KMB bus tickets, 1950s


This fits the same pattern as the 1950s Wanchai photo shown above. Both the photos came from contributor moddsey, as I hadn't started my own collection back then. Again, it never went out as a newsletter so most of those 14,000+ views will be from Google sending viewers to look at the photo, and to read the discussion about the old buses and bus routes in the comments.

In 2007, moddsey would send me the photo files by email and I'd add them to the website. Fortunately, later versions of the Gwulo website have allowed contributors to upload photos directly to the site. Looking through Tuesday's website logs I see that five different contributors added 45 new photos to the site. If I still had to do all that by hand I wouldn't have time left for anything else!

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#7 - 1940s Peninsula Hotel (18,008 views)

1940s Peninsula Hotel


Once again - a great photo from moddsey (this one showing the Peninsula showing its wartime camouflage colours), and an interesting discussion in the comments. In this case the conversation wandered away from the Peninsula to discuss the old Chungking Arcade that was nearby.

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#6 - Why is Admiralty different? (19,894 views)

This was a newsletter talking about the area around modern-day Queensway. I showed a selection of maps of the area from the 1840s til the present day, and looked at the changes over the years. Here's a map from 1880, when the area was known as the Military Cantonment.

Admiralty, 1880


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#5 - Boundary Stone at Magazine Gap Road (33,033 views)

#3 in the 2006 Top Ten introduced the old granite marker stones along the boundary of Victoria City.

In this follow-up, a reader wrote in to report that the stone on Magazine Gap Road had been removed, apparently during some work to tidy up the hillside. In the comments that follow we shared messages received from various government departments about what had happened. They weren't very inspiring.

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#4 - Pottinger Street and its tunnel (38,118 views)

Pottinger Street was the site of another ARP Tunnel. I'm not sure I'd have felt very safe inside it, as it was just a straight tunnel with the one entrance - any collapse at the entrance and you'd have been stuck. In this newsletter I talked about the tunnel, and its surroundings.

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#3 - A walk through Victoria Barracks (65,450 views)

This was a natural follow-on from the earlier piece about Admiralty. I took a walk from Queens Road East up the hill to Kennedy Road, passing through what used to be the Victoria Barracks.

At that time the old Magazine buildings were crumbling ruins.

Victoria Barracks Magazine


But this story has a happy ending: after 2007 the buildings were renovated by the Asia Society, and today they're in great shape.

Long-time readers will remember that the newsletter finished with this mysterious iron door that led into the hillside above Kennedy Road.

Kennedy Road


There was plenty of speculation about what was behind the door, but what we imagined turned out to be a lot more exciting than the reality. When the door was finally opened some time later, it just opened into a small room - probably some sort of cabling room in the past.

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#2 - Subscribe to (76,085 views)

This is one of the website's housekeeping pages, where new visitors can sign up to receive this newsletter. I'd love to say that the 76,000 views have turned into 76,000 subscribers, but at present each newsletter goes out to just over 3,400 readers.

If you know any friends with a Hong Kong connection who might enjoy Gwulo's newsletters, please could you let them know about this link to subscribe? They can unsubscribe at any time if they don't find it interesting.

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#1 - Where to find Hong Kong's history (96,139 views)

This is a list of resources for people interested in finding out more about Hong Kong's history. It started out as a single page, but over time we've added sub-pages for specialist areas such as old buildings, or people who lived in Hong Kong in the past.

If you use any good resources you think more people should know about, please click through to the relevant page and leave a comment there.

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