Photos of old Hong Kong

Submitted by David on Thu, 10/05/2006 - 08:30

Here we bring together the photos of old Hong Kong that are hosted on Gwulo, plus links to other collections.

Gwulo - Photos for sale

If you'd like to buy a print photograph of old Hong Kong for yourself, or as a gift, please click here to see our Catalogue of old Hong Kong photos.

Digital copies are available too, for you to use in your own creative projects (event backdrops, books & brochures, websites, videos, etc).

Please contact me for ordering details:

David's email address

Gwulo - Photos for browsing

Most photos here are not for sale, but they are great for browsing. We have over 25,000, so there are lots to see. If you know what you are looking for you can:

  • Search by decade - Visit the galleries to find photos grouped by decade, from the 1860s to the present day.
  • Search by location - Use our map of Places in Hong Kong to choose the building you are interested in (or one nearby), and see what photos we have for it.

Or if you like surprises, just click the photo on the right (see 'Random Photo'). That will show you a larger copy of the photo, some information about it, and ... a new Random Photo!

Most of the photos have been kindly contributed by readers like you. Do you have any you can share? It's easy to upload them to, or to show them here if they're already on Flickr.

Other photo collections

Other websites with good photos of old Hong Kong include:

  • The Hong Kong Public Records Office offers an online catalogue to their 'Archives for Still and Moving Images'. There are over 8,000 images in the archive.
  • The Hong Kong Public Library also has a good online search for old photos. The photos can be viewed and downloaded in high-resolution (though with the library's logo on the picture), which means they can be cleaned up well in an image editor. [3-Oct-2008: For me this site only works with Internet Explorer, not Firefox. When you click the link you should see a search screen. If you don't, check the opening hours as the service closes at different times for maintenance.]
  • Hedda Morrison took several hundred photos of Hong Kong in 1946-7. Over 300 of these photos have been scanned at high-resolution and placed online in Harvard University's HOLLIS web site.
  • The St Georges School website has a gallery of photos of Kowloon believed taken in the 1960s.
  • Tom Jackson's 'Hong Kong 70s & 80s'. He writes:

I was brought up in Hong Kong in the 60s and went to the Peak School and KGV. These photos were mostly taken by myself on a Kodak Instamatic and Olympus OM10 between 1969 and 1987. A few other photos were given to me and some slides were bought from a street vendor in the late 70s. I hope you enjoy this bit of nostalgia as much as I did compiling it.

If you know of any other sites with good photos of old Hong Kong, please add a comment below with the details.

Regards, David



I was having a quick surf on the web earlier and came across a great Flickr website.

Someone has gone an obtained loads of old photos of Hong Kong and then gone through a lot of trouble to find the exact place and vantage point of the original and taken a modern snap. They are quite accurate.

I've wanted to do the same with some of the old photos from the war, but this fella has done a grand job.

I recognise one photo that is on Gwulo, the photo of a Pillbox and ARP's outside near Pacific Place and Admiralty taken in about '41.

You can see lovely looking old buildings which have been replaced by ugly concrete and glass. Some of the old buildings that have been demolished is nothing short of criminal, but because some greedy landlord rather have a 30 story office block they have been flattened..... who needs history when you have a fat wallet? 

Check it out.

If someone has already mentioned the site, my apologies.  


Hi Craig, I did give him a mention on the page about HK & Flickr, but he's well worth highlighting again. Apart from the quality of his photos, it's also amazing how quickly he gets them finished. I've bookmarked plenty that I'd like to add here, but can't keep up! If anyone sees one they'd like to share here, please go ahead and add it.

Cheers, David

I recently received an email from Peter Moss, linking to his photo albums. There are several that contain photos of Hong Kong:

  • Wind from the North. Photos from the 1967 disturbances, with many taken along the border with China.
  • The drowning of Plover Cove. Photos of the Plover Cove area after the sea had been drained away, but before the new reservoir was filled with fresh water. Also several photos taken around Port Shelter and Silverstrand Bay.
  • Hong Kong retreat. Ma Wan island in the 1970s.

The photos are sharp, the comments below them are interesting, and the name seemed familiar. Then I clicked through to his website, and all became clear - he's the author of many of the glossy Form Asia photo books I've browsed through in local bookshops. Fingers crossed we'll hear more from Peter.

Thanks to Paul Watty for getting in touch:

I lived in Hong Kong between 1968 and 1971 and have a series of photos from the period - they're more family photos than scenery, but I hope they may be of some interest.

He describes them as:

A selection of photos, featuring me, my mother, my father, brother Peter, HMS Intrepid and Fred the dog.

My father was based in Victoria Barracks between 1968 and 1971, we lived in Montgomery Block just above the barracks and I attended school at Victoria infants.

View the photos here.

The text at the top of this page used to include the section below.

Unfortunately the link to Harry's website no longer works, and I can't find any sign of his new website on the internet. They are great photos, so Harry, if you read this please could you let us know your new website? Or if you need a new home for your photos, we'll be very happy to host them here.

Regards, David

  • Harry Marshall has several photos of Hong Kong in the 1950s (click on the thumbnails along the right for a larger version of the picture and background information). His introduction begins:

During the British National Service years I was stationed in Hong Kong from 1954 to 1957. Initially I was one of the R.E.M.E. personnel attached to the 27th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment at Stanley Fort on Hong Kong Island. Then followed a short period on Stone Cutters Island before I was finally transferred to the R.E.M.E. workshop in Shamshuipo. Repatriation came in July 1957, and I was sorry to leave. Hong Kong I mean, not the Army! I couldn't wait to get out of the bxxxxy Army! — But I had fallen in love with Hong Kong.

How many photos have we created here? Take a guess...




I got a very pleasant surprise when I checked this week: 3,580 !

That includes all the photos uploaded here, and the photos we've linked to on Flickr. It doesn't include any photos pasted straight into text, so the total number of photos visible on the site is even higher.

Many thanks to every one who has taken the time to upload photos here or on Flickr. Next stop 5,000 ...

Regards, David

Hello David;

A link for some excellent colour shots of 50's/60's HK can be found at a US Navy site

It was common knwledge that the US sailors had better cameras and gear than their Royal Navy counterparts - primarily due to the wage disparity between the navies, with Jack Tar coming in a lowly fourth in line after the Canadians, Americans, and Aussies.

I can especially recommend the shots taken by George Hofius and Scott Martin (who runs the site).  George has an excellent shot of Government House which he took from the top of the Hilton Hotel - and one of the Colonial Secretariat Building just below it.  He also has a shot of the site of the old Foreign Correspondents Club on Conduit Road where scenes for "A Many Splendored Thing" were filmed.

Also, a shot by Don Holloway (50's #25) will show you the HKFC Stadium looking east - showing the line of HKG houses that used to line Wongneichong Road.



Hi Geralk

I noticed images 89 & 90 should have been looking towards Pokfulam Reservoir and the High West respectively instead of the Repulse Bay.   The photographer would likely be somewhere on The Peak.

On the other hand, the Cinema featuring 'The Battle of the Bulge' as shown in photo 121 was said to be haunted.  Sort of a believe it or not stuff.

Best Regards,


I think Scott Martins photos are the best ones in existence of Wanchai in the '60s-I've never yet found any better ones (well, I took a few myself in '72, but not nearly as many as him). Too bad he doesn't keep that album on Flickr (or Gwulo!), where a lot more people might see his work.

Scott is the webmaster for, so you could always drop him a line and make that suggestion.  I agree with you about Wanchai during the 60's - he even got a shot of the China Fleet Club, which I never did in all the years I lived there.  Several of the others in the DeHaven Photo Gallery uploaded business cards from all the Wanchai bars they frequented, including a letter to the ship's company inviting them in for a complimentary first drink. They don't do that anymore!

Hello everyone, I am Willy Freeman from Bermuda, this being post #1 for me. I have recently purchased both of David's books, Old Hong Kong & the tales they tell. I quite simply cannot get enough of this stuff!! David's books are perfectly written and organized to create a very pleasant reading experience, I know you will all agree to that. I can wallow in these old pictures for hours & hours...good thing I'm single, because nothing gets done! I have a website to share with everyone which is panoramic and zoomable to give extraordiary detail within each plate. The official title is University of Cambridge digital library; subtitle Royal Commonwealth Society. Once on the website, click the exspansion arrows on the top right and you're off. Enjoy! Here it is...

Thanks Willy, I haven't seen these before, and they've got lots of detail. Here are the photos that show HK:

2. TST from harbour:

3. View north from Peak:

4. HK Island north shore from harbour:

5. Buildings along seafront from VRC:

6. View east from Peak:

7. View west from Fortress Hill: << The first close-up I've seen of this area

(#1 is Shanghai, and #8 is Macau).

I see that site allows downloads, so if anyone can download & add them to Gwulo they'll be a good addition.

Regards, David


A website I’ve been working on to show my photos of Hong Kong has now reached a stage where it can be launched.  There are already more than 40,000 of my personal images of Hong Kong inside it.  Although it does have an interface that can accommodate to viewing on mobile devices, of course it is best viewed on a larger computer screen.  It is being kindly hosted by the Art History Department at the University of Hong Kong on its server.  It can be searched by date or by keyword (or by a combination of both), but one can also use a ‘lucky dip’ function if one is not after something in particular.  Users are free to download images for not-for-profit purposes. 
The website covers a quarter century of Hong Kong's recent history during which I have been intensively photographing the city.  I know this only slightly overlaps with the focus of Gwulo's historical interests but nevertheless I thought users might have an interest in it so I am posting a link to it here.  

Hong Kong in Transition: 1995-2020

All the best,

David Clarke.