Old friends

Submitted by David on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 20:41

In theory I view the items for sale at a postcard fair with a cool, analytical gaze, only choosing pictures I can use in new books, prints, and talks.

In practice there are all sorts that catch my eye, and I often end up buying scenes that add more detail to an older story that I'd enjoyed. Here are a few examples, the fourth and final batch of postcards and photos I bought at the Woking fair.


Sailing junk

Photos of sailing junks are always worth a look, and I especially like photos of junks with tattered sails.

Junk with tattered sails


What a jumble of patches - I wonder if any parts of the original sail remained?

See more photos of Hong Kong’s junks.


Construction sites

Two postcards from local publisher M. Sternberg show popular scenes.

"Queen's Statue, Hongkong"

The postcard is titled “Queen’s Statue, Hongkong”, so that’s what we’re supposed to be looking at. But I’m more interested in the foreground – the temporary buildings and builders’ yard in front of the Hong Kong Club on the right, and the beginnings of the Supreme Court on the left.

The second postcard is titled “Praya of Central Part of Hongkong”, and once again I'm looking at the construction underway. This time it's the new General Post Office starting to rise up at bottom right, its building site protected by bamboo scaffolding and a temporary roof.

"Praya of Central Part of Hongkong"


See more of Sternberg’s postcards, and timelines of views of the temporary buildings and builders’ yard in front of the Hong Kong Club, the Supreme Court, and the GPO.


Baby carriers

Some time ago I wrote about the cloth baby carriers that were popular in Hong Kong, and I still keep an eye out for more examples.

"Poor Chinese Children"

See more photos of baby carriers.


“The District of Peak”

Do you remember this photo appearing in the newsletter back in June?

Roads around the Peak


One of my questions was to ask what the little building in the dip was.

Highlighted roof


This new addition shows the view in the opposite direction and gives a good view of that little building. As contributor gw wrote in a comment, it looks like accommodation for people working at the nearby Haystack building.

"The District of Peak"

Read about the original scene and contributors’ replies.


Ship breaking

On this visit to the UK I also took the chance to catch up with friends. The day before the postcard fair I’d had a good chat with Mike Cussans, and he’d mentioned seeing ships being broken up in the sheltered water between Kai Tak’s runway and Kwun Tong. I’d previously seen photos of ship breaking at Gin Drinkers Bay and Junk Bay, but not any showing Kwun Tong.

I nearly flicked past this photo, but then the previous day's conversation came back to me, as that straight line on the right looks like Kai Tak's runway. Sure enough, under the magnifying glass I could see the man on the left was holding an acetylene torch, and here's our Kwun Tong photo!

Shipbreaking at Kwun Tong


With ship breaking on my mind, I also picked up this view of Rennie’s Mill.

Shipbreaking at Rennie's Mill


I’ve previously posted another 'ship breaking at Rennie’s Mill' photo, and looking at it again I realise it is almost exactly the same as the one above! They must have both come from the same album. It’s worth reading the comments on that page if you’d like to learn more about ship breaking in Hong Kong.