Category Archives : History


HISTORY – Evolution of the Hong Kong Skyline – a Visual History 15

Below is a brief visual history of how the Hong Kong skyline developed over the decades.

Pre-1869 painting of Hong Kong harbour

Pre-1869 painting via RGS-IBG image / E. L. Watling

1880s - Beginning with a rare shot of the harbour from the 19th century – the same decade in which the Star Ferry became operational.

 Hong Kong harbour

via New York Times

 Hong Kong harbour

1890, click to enlarge

1900s - Next, a quaint postcard from 1906 (via gwulo.com)…

 Hong Kong harbour

via gwulo.com

1910s – The CBD, gradually creeping up The Peak, was then named Victoria City. There was no light show back then (but click here for a photo of the harbour at night, some 106 years ago!)…


HISTORY – The Long-Lost Haunted Castles of Hong Kong 1

Eu Tong Sen was a well-known tycoon in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with business interests across Southeast Asia. He was also vice-president of the Anti-Opium Society and a somewhat eccentric property owner. Heir to his family’s retail and mining businesses, he took control of his father’s estate in 1898. Over the decades that followed, he multiplied his fortune several times over. By age 30, he was one of the region’s richest men, specialising in the tin mining and rubber industries.

Castle in Hong Kong

via Aeste on Flickr

Eu built three castles in Hong Kong – Eucliffe was the most well-known. It was famous for being a social hot spot in the 1930s and was located next door to the Kadoorie’s Repulse Bay Hotel. The folly featured a large collection of ancient western armour as well as stained glass windows. 


HISTORY – How Hong Kong Was Made: Iconic Buildings Under Construction 9

Completed in 1972, Jardine House was the tallest in Asia, built on reclaimed land under the agreement that no other building would obstruct its views. With 52 floors, it was constructed with a metal frame and a curtain wall and round windows – a design which earned it the nickname “House of a Thousand Arseholes.”…

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via Sing Tao


HISTORY – Tiananmen Square 25-years-ago Part 2: When the Tanks Rolled In

It was the night that the frightened old men of the Chinese government chose to ‘kill the kids instead of change’. Under one-party rule, the same men remain in power today and continue to pretend the Tiananmen massacre never happened. In Hong Kong, that night in Tiananmen Square has not been erased – a record turnout is expected at Wednesday night’s vigil in Victoria Park at 8pm (click for details). Hong Wrong will have full coverage of the event during this 25th anniversary.

Below are graphic images from the the evening of June 3rd into June 4th back in 1989 in Beijing. For part 1 – images of the protest camp before the bloody intervention - click here.

Hours before the massacre, a protester tells PLA soldiers to leave

Hours before the massacre, a protester tells PLA soldiers to leave – Catherine Henriette, AFP/Getty.


HISTORY – Tiananmen Square 1989: Before the Tanks & Bloodshed

Around 1.5 million Hong Kongers gathered in late May, 1989 to show solidarity with protesters in Tiananmen Square…

Statue Square, Hong Kong, May 1989

Statue Square, Hong Kong, May, 1989

…Meanwhile, in Beijing, thousands of students, workers and hunger strikers were demonstrating against corruption, inflation and the lack of civil liberties under one-party rule. The photos below show the days and weeks in the run-up to the notorious crackdown on June 4th.


HISTORY – Newly Restored Old Hong Kong Newsreels: Part 1, Refugees 6

The news and film archive British Pathé have uploaded a number of short, revealing old newsreels related to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Newsreel Clips

In this first video from 1962, refugees fleeing the famine in the mainland are turned back from British Hong Kong. Sympathetic locals line the streets throwing food parcels into departing trucks destined for the border. (Click here for photos from the same year).


PHOTOGRAPHY – Exploring Ma On Shan’s Abandoned Iron Mine Complex 2

Between 1906 and 1976, Ma On Shan was home to a booming iron ore mine…

Ma On Shan Mine

via industrialhistoryhk.org

An expert team from HK URBEX explored the underground network last month…

Raw iron ore was once transported to a processing plant 200 metres from the coast on what was the city’s first electric tram.


HISTORY – A New Kowloon Walled City 15-min Documentary & Book 3

Diana Jou and Lara Day of the Wall Street Journal have produced a new 15-minute documentary about the Kowloon Walled City. Once the densest place on Earth, the colourful, maze-like hotbed of of ‘crime, grime, commerce and hope’ was torn down 20 years ago…

Below are shots from ’City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City‘ – a photobook by Greg Girard and Ian Lambot.

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The duo are planning an expanded, follow-up edition…


PHOTOGRAPHY – The Ghost Villages of Yung Shue Au & Sam A Tsuen

Yung Shue Au 榕樹凹, translated as ‘Banyan Pass’, is located just outside of Starling Islet within Plover Cove Country Park.

As with many villages in the area, the population dwindled during the 50s, 60s and 70s as the residents left for the city and for Europe, leaving the buildings to be slowly digested by nature.


PHOTOGRAPHY – The Half-Submerged Cargo Ship Currently Abandoned off Cheung Chau 5

A half-submerged Vietnamese freighter is currently sat glumly off the coast of Cheung Chau after running aground last month.

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A HK URBEX team explored the stricken Sunrise Orient last week…

It was shot with a GoPro HERO 3+ (head), HERO 1 (selfie stick) and a HERO 2 mounted on the DJI Phantom 2…