Opening of Biological Building at HKU West Gate on 22nd September, 1930 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Opening of Biological Building at HKU West Gate on 22nd September, 1930

This is a rare footage of HKU in the 1930’s:

The author Andrew Tse named the video as “Old Hong Kong – Opening Ceremony of the University of Hong Kong”, and identified many famous characters who attended the event. But there is no information on what was being opened, and when was the ceremony.

Both Sir William Peel and Fung Ping Shan appeared in the video; the former was appointed Governor of HK on 9 May, 1930 and the latter passed away on 2 August, 1931 – so the event had to be between these two dates.

Of all the buildings at HKU, only the Biology Building (demolished) at the West Gate of the University fits the date:

BiologyBuildingHKU.jpg, by hwngan

 Search of news reports revealed the date of opening to be Sept. 22, 1930 (the following shows the announcement of the ceremony on the preceding Saturday):

Announcement.jpg, by hwngan

At 7:43 of the video, Peel spoke to Kwok Siu Lau in front of the building, because Kwok donated money for the study of biology. Bernard Mellor gave the account in his book "The University of Hong Kong, an Informal History"; the building was not new at the time - it was just converted for biology use:

BernardMellorBook.jpg, by hwngan

Because the building was for biology, seen in the movie are at least two HKU medical professors:

1. Prof. Lindsay Ride – Chair of Physiology (0.28s):

2. Prof. K.H. Digby – Chair of Surgery (0.44s):

Digby.jpg, by hwngan

Lindsay Ride is well-known to the Gwulo community, and for Digby, there is a Lecture series named after him at HKU:

A Mr. Ian Day, Demonstrator in Engineering, is also seen at 5:07 of the video. That’s all I can do for now, and it will be interesting to identify more HKU professors (or students) from the video.