Where are the horses in old Hong Kong photos?

Submitted by Klaus on Mon, 04/11/2022 - 10:42

Interesting to see horses are listed in the 1863 ordinance about hiring public vehicles, but I don’t remember having seen any horse (except for racing) or horse driven carriages on old Hong Kong photos. If someone knows more, please leave a comment.

Mr Kennedy had a stable,
There is a mention of people arriving in carrages or on Horseback to a wedding c.1884, where they use the term "ordinary carrages", https://gwulo.com/comment/63067#comment-63067.
I read somewhere, that the Chinese name for Queen's Gardens was something like - the Governor's Horse Riding place (I can't find the reference at the moment),
Sir Cecil and Lady Clementi have riding paths names after them.
Here's a picture of the Parade Ground with Officers on horseback

Thank you for your reply marlowe. Actually, I was thinking more about public transport with horses.

As far as I understand the 1863 "ordinance to provide for the regulation of Public Vehicles and Chairs and their Drivers and Bearers, and to license the Hire of Horses", there should be "drivers" of "Public Vehicles". In 1863, no rickshaws existed in Hong Kong. Therefore I thought of carriages with one horse like it was common means of transport in Britain at that time. 

For material transport we have some photos of bullock carts like this one:

William Fincher
William Fincher, by Admin

Were there any horse carts?

It would be of interest if the wording of the 1863 ordinance (regarding horses) was chosen just out of British tradition without significance to Hong Kong, or were these actually in use.

I don't remember reading any mention of someone hiring a horse or horse-drawn carriage, but if there were licenses, there may be mentions of criminal offences related to those licenses and / or driving? They'd appear in the newspapers reports of court cases, and possibly in the end-of-year lists of types of crimes in the annual reports.

I'd guess photographers working in the 1860s would wait for any horses and carriages to pass before taking a photo of a street scene, as the long exposures would make the horses look very blurred.

The website of Heritage 1881, the former Marine (Water) Police Headquarters in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, lists a “Stable Block” within the complex, which I believe is now one of their dining areas.
However, a careful study of Iain Ward’s “Sui Geng, The Hong Kong Marine Police 1841 - 1950,” makes no mention of stables being included when the building was constructed.

In chapter 5, “The Old Lady of Tsim Sha Tsui 1884 - 1991,” Iain goes into great detail regarding that construction and would not omit the provision of stables within the complex if they were built.

I wonder if anybody can confirm whether they actually existed?



"[Wednesday 6th September 1848] Doctors in visiting their patients ride in [sedan] chairs; though Dr. M. usually appears in a low carriage, drawn by a pair of handsome Chusan ponies. His boy rides with him, holding an umbrella over his head, and takes care of the horses in his absence, being obliged continually, with a cloth, to drive off the flies which torment them." 

Source: extract from "Diary of a Hong Kong Doctor", by Benjamin Lincoln Ball, published in Hong Kong: Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth (1996), by Barbara-Sue White, at 48.