Category Archives : History


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 49

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

b7U7vrdl.jpg (640×427)

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).

l3Exg8Ql.png (640×418)

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.

abUPfl.jpg (640×437)

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

Efl5Pl.jpg (640×460)

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.”…

MUG7bl.jpg (628×640)

via Sing Tao