Category Archives : History

HISTORY – The Day a Cargo Ship Washed up on Cheung Chau Beach 13

In September, 1983, a Cypriot freighter called ‘City of Lobito’ beached on Cheung Chau island after being washed ashore by Typhoon Ellen. The 6000-tonne cargo ship narrowly avoided smashing into newly built beachside apartments (by just 30 metres).

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Islanders took care of the 21 Filipino crew members until they were repatriated. The shipping company went bankrupt.


PHOTOGRAPHY – Glitch the Matrix: Old & New Hong Kong Blended Together 13

Photoshop whizz willieraipan has produced a series of pictures which unite old and new Hong Kong. Previously the blog showcased ‘HK Man’s’ efforts to contrast yesterday’s city with modern scenes captured from the same spot.

Willieraipan takes this one step further by cleverly blending HK Man’s vintage and contemporary photos, making it seem as if there is a ‘glitch in the matrix’…

HISTORY – Fascinating, Newly Restored Old Hong Kong Newsreels: Part 2

The news and film archive British Pathé have uploaded a number of short, revealing old newsreels related to Hong Kong (click here for Part 1). Many of the 1-minute vignettes give an insight into how Britain saw its role in the world, whilst some of the clips are steeped in Orientalist mystification.

Here is an early clip from 1932 celebrating the discipline and loyalty of the colony’s Indian troops, as they “impressed” the “natives” of Hong Kong…

HISTORY – 1000+ ‘Before and After’ Photos of Old & New Hong Kong 32

‘HK Man’ has copiled an impressive Flickr collection of over 1000 ‘before & after’ photos of old and new Hong Kong. Each photo of bygone HK is contrasted with a more recent one…

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…Reassuringly, some scenes – like the trams – never change…

HISTORY – Happy Birthday Hong Kong: 174 Years Old Today 3

It is an event that neither Hong Kong, China nor Britain are likely to be celebrating. Nevertheless, on this day (January 26th) in 1841, the British flag was first unfurled at Possession Point by Royal Navy sailors.

At the time, Hong Kong was a sleepy backwater, though it would prove to be a handy trading outpost. “Albert is so amused at my having got the island of Hong Kong”, wrote Queen Victoria in 1841.

HISTORY – A Brief Visual History of Hong Kong’s Old Airport, Kai Tak 51

Heralded as the sixth most dangerous in the world, Kai Tak served as Hong Kong’s airport from 1925 till 1998.

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Courtesy Daryl Chapman,

Landings over densely populated Kowloon were spectacular and involved a complicated last-minute manoeuvre known in the piloting community as a ‘Hong Kong turn’ or ‘checkerboard turn’, after the checkerboard reference point above Kowloon Tsai Park (still visible now – click for some eerie close-up shots).

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In 1925, Kai Tai was a simple grass-strip airfield which served the British RAF and enthusiasts from the Hong Kong Aviation Club (which still exists today).

HISTORY – A Brief Visual History of the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower 7

Built with red bricks and granite, the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower peaks at 44 metres and once dominated Victoria Harbour. It is now all that remains of the old Kowloon station on the waterfront. Below is Victoria Terminus exactly 100 years ago, a few years after the line itself opened in 1910…

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Rickshaws await new arrivals – 1914. Click to enlarge – via Flickr

The plan for the terminus was finalised in 1904, but World War I delayed construction…

PHOTOGRAPHY – Fan Ho, Part II: Street Scenes in Dreamy Colour 1954-2004 13

Legendary photographer Fan Ho has been capturing Hong Kong on film for many years and is arguably one of China’s most highly acclaimed photographers. Below are some rarer colour shots.

Click here for Hong Wrong’s previous entry documenting the city’s boom years.

Since 1956, he has won over 280 awards from various exhibitions and competitions around the world.