"Kwan Tai Lo" Milestone - Tai Tam Reservoir Road [????- ]

Submitted by moddsey on Wed, 06/17/2020 - 16:36
Current condition

A British garrison was stationed at Stanley shortly after Hong Kong was ceded to Britain, although there was only a horse-path linking Stanley to the City of Victoria. This path was later upgraded to a road and a number of milestones were placed along the road, only which three have been found.

The first was discovered in 1966 embedded in the wall of a squatter hut near Kellett Bay (probably not in its original position). The second was discovered in 1981 in situ close to Tai Tam Road, north of Turtle Cove but had to removed due to construction work in the area. The third stands in its original place in the Tai Tam Reservoir area. 

These stones are the earliest milestones from the British period and are therefore of considerable interest, They are large granite stones, triangular in cross-section and measuring 1.5 metres in height above the ground. Two of the faces of each indicate the distance to Stanley and the other to Victoria in English and Chinese in miles and "lei". The "lei" is a Chinese measure of approximately 0.3 of a mile. The Chinese name on the stone, "Kwan Tai Lo" is puzzling and has caused much speculation and theories. One has it this was the Chinese name for Hong Kong Island used during the Ming and early Ching dynasties.

The milestone on display in the Hong Kong Museum of History was re-discovered in the early 1980s (???) in a squatter hut in Shek Pai Wan. The distance to Aberdeen (1 mile) and to Victoria (5 miles) are inscribed on either side in both English and Chinese. See https://www.devb.gov.hk/filemanager/en/content_1044/20200322_03.html

1. In Search of the Past: A Guide to the Antiquities of Hong Kong by Solomon Bard

2. Information panel on "Kwan Tai Lo" in the Hong Kong Museum of History 

3. See https://www.hkmaps.hk/viewer.html and select the 1902 Hong Kong map on top left to view a few of the early milestones on Hong Kong Island  with distances to and from Victoria and Aberdeen.



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