A domestic and civic chapter
This map pretty much describes who has influence over which bits of China during the last few years of the Qing Dynasty, after the Boxer Rebellion:
Britain leased the former Chinese naval base of Weihaiwei, opposite Port Arthur, "for as long as the Russians were in Port Arthur" - after the Japanese booted the Russians out of Port Arthur in 1905 this was amended to "for as long as the Japanese are in Port Arthur".
As may be seen from the map, Britain's interest in Weihaiwei (on the promontory north of TsingTao / Qingdao) was chiefly to keep a naval eye on whoever else was helping themselves to chunks of China by keeping the sea lane to Tianjin, and hence to Beijing, open. Port Arthur / Dalian is on the southern tip of the opposite promontory.
Britain could never find a good use for Weihaiwei and gave it back to China in 1930. Port Arthur was regained from the Japanese in 1945 and you will know it better as Dalian.
The USA and the UK took most of their reparations in cash (the Boxer Indemnity was almost two years' tax revenue for the Qing Empire – the Customs duty was increased to pay it). The USA applied a lot of it to fund the education of Chinese students; the British used it to found the University of Hong Kong and at the same time they leased, for 99 years, the New Territories, expanding Hong Kong enormously (see map, above) . The reason for the lease was that Britain was worried about a possible German attack on Hong Kong, and wanted to make the harbour and the perimeter more defensible.
The population increased overnight to 263,000 and for the first time this included peasant farmers who did not want to be in Hong Kong and who had not been asked their opinion.
Owing to an oversight, the yamen (administrative centre) of the actual village of Kowloon, which like all Chinese coastal villages was walled, was omitted from British control. This resulted in what later became known as Kowloon Walled City being under no government at all, a tiny tax free enclave of anarchy with a crime rate to match, two hundred yards by one hundred yards, with a population of 35,000, making it the most densely populated spot on the planet:
this lasted until 1993, when, following an agreement between the two Governments that claimed it, it was finally demolished. It features in most cinematic visions of The Future As Dystopia, partly because it was indeed a hellish place and partly because a group of Japanese chaps spent a week filming in it after everyone had left and before the wrecking balls moved in, thereby generating a few miles of stock footage. It is now a park.
Because the New Territories were leased, land law and inheritance remained governed by Chinese law; as indeed they still are in the New Territories which are now the only part of China where girls cannot inherit. (I have a friend, of my age, who finds this particularly annoying, as her brothers have done extremely well out of the family farm...which has been a container park for quite a while now.)
In one jump, Hong Kong had gone from a “barren rock” about seven miles by five long to a territory about a forty miles by fifty, including many smaller islands as well as a good chunk of the mainland.
Because the place was leased, leases in the New Territories were for increasingly short terms of years, until the point was reached, in the late 1970's, where no lease would be commercially viable for a developer.
At that point Britain concluded that the time had come to have a chat with China about the situation, leading directly to the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the return of Hong Kong to China. By this time, Hong Kong had become completely integrated with the New Territories (except where taxis are concerned!) with almost exactly half the population living in the New Territories, and the idea of keeping the freehold areas only was absurd.
One effect of the lease of the New Territories was that the Hong Kong government decided that it was worth building a railway from Kowloon to Canton; mid-Victorian efforts in this direction had been stymied in Legco by the steamship company owners, who did very nicely thank you out of the water route up the Pearl River estuary.
The railway opened in 1910, with a border station (which became very famous in the Cold War) at Lo Wu.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Club had built itself a new building:
(photo taken in the Twenties - note the Cenotaph, but no traffic)
Just to keep the list of Governors up to date, Robinson was suceeded by Sir Henry Blake, who, unusually, got a pier named after him, instead of a road (the pier has been re-located several times, as the harbour has been narrowed by reclamations!) Blake was followed by Matthew Nathan (another road) who was followed by Lugard.
Frederick Lugard, who was much the most distinguished of HK's colonial Governors; he originated indirect rule in West Africa and was altogether a Good Egg, suggested that Britain give back Weihaiwei in exchange for the freehold of the New Territories, but neither Government fancied this, and it did not happen.
Lugard Road, by the way, is on the Peak and should you wish to find it I recommend you take the Peak Tram:
(it's not a tram; its a funicular railway, but well worth while anyway.)
Lugard's other achievement, against the wishes of just about everyone, was to found the University of Hong Kong. It should be noted that he did so using the funds from the Boxer Rebellion Indemnity, and to this day the interest and dividends on the Boxer Indemnity Fund go to the University.
The First World War had no effect whatsoever on Hong Kong, which was governed by Francis May, yet another Irishman, during the period. I've lived in May Road; much the poshest address I've ever had!
May was followed by Stubbs, who managed to rub people up the wrong way at a time of rising Chinese patriotic sentiment, and who finished his career in disgrace when posted to Ceylon because he tried to deport an Australian planter who sympathised with the tea pickers' union.