Category Archives : History


HISTORY – A Brief Visual History of Hong Kong’s Old Airport, Kai Tak 48

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, flickr.com/photos/darylchapman

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…

TST Clock Tower

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.


HISTORY – Photos from 1962 of Mainland Refugees Fleeing Famine Rejected by HK 12

As war and famine ravaged the mainland, hundreds of thousands fled to British Hong Kong during the 40s, 50s and 60s.

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LIFE Magazine captured the experiences of some of these migrants in an issue from May, 1962.

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Some had travelled thousands of miles to begin a new life in the British colony. Meanwhile, the US welcomed only skilled workers.


HISTORY – Evolution of the Hong Kong Skyline – a Visual History 18

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 3

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.