Jubilee Battery's third searchlight [????- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Jubilee Battery's third searchlight [????- ]

Around 18 months ago I posted up some photos of Jubilee Battery's two searchlight positions. But a few weeks back Rob Weir surprised me by saying there was a third. That seemed strange, as the other times I've seen searchlights mentioned there are just two per battery.

Rob followed up by email with the details:

The third Searchlight position at Jubilee is further down the coast towards the (ugh) Cyberport. The easiest way to show you the position is via www.Centamap.com. If you go to the area of Jubilee, use level 2 of the scale, and work down to the right, following Victoria Road. Next to Villa Primavera is Block 1. Between the two is a watercourse which goes to the coast. Where it meets the water, the Searchlight position is immediately adjacent, and is actually shown on the map. As you can see, it is quite a distance from the battery.
You may see reference to this type of searchlight as a Defence Electric Light (DEL), or, later, Coastal Artillery Search Light (CASL). The usage officially changed sometime back in the early 1900's but they seemed to be an interchangeable name up to the war period.

Here's the map he describes, with a few letters added as markers (click for a larger version):

Map of Jubilee Battery & searchlights

Map legend:

A - The path from the road down to the battery and the sea
B - Appx position of the central searchlight
C - The southern (ie the third) searchlight
D - Old path from battery to southern searchlight

Path to Jubilee Battery
Off I went to see what's left. Here's where I started - Victoria Road near the junction with Mount Davis Road.



Path to Jubilee Battery
There's a staircase ('A' on the map) leading down to a pavilion near the sea. Walk down the steps. Near the bottom you'll see some of the battery buildings on the right



Jubilee Battery, central searchlight

Keep going, and on the left, past some bamboo, you'll see the central searchlight position.





Jubilee Battery, central searchlight

It's been lived in at some stage (there were several squatter villages around this area), so the main opening has been bricked up.



View south from central searchlight
But we've seen this before, so where's the third searchlight? Somewhere along there:



I gave myself a scare along the rocks here - there's a section where it was very steep and decidedly iffy. More thoughts on getting there at the end,

When I did get there it looked .... exactly the same as the one I'd just seen!

Jubilee Battery, southern searchlight

Jubilee Battery, southern searchlight
Jubilee Battery, southern searchlight
Jubilee Battery, southern searchlight






Here's a video taken inside:

And a video taken inside the central searchlight position, showing they are almost identical.

Why three?

I guess this site had more because they were serving two batteries, the nearby Jubilee Battery, and Mount Davis Battery further up the hill.

Getting there

The map shows a path (marked by 'D's) from the battery to the southern searchlight. It looks as though that was the original path when the searchlight was built, and would be ideal for us today. As often happens, the path lives on in officialdom (ie the Lands Department's mapping system), but there's no sign of it on the ground.

The next disappointment is that there is a neat path up the hill from the searchlight - concrete steps, stainless steel railings. But they end at the gate to Villa Primavera. So unless you know anyone that lives there, that route is out too.

As mentioned, I don't recommend clambering along from the central searchlight. After seeing the southern searchlight, I carried on south towards Sandy Bay. I thought that was a no-go too, as there was another sharp drop. Fortunately there was the remains of a bamboo ladder propped up, so I climbed down that.

But I'd recommend you just enjoy the photos & video above!


Photos that show this place