Tag Archives : History

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 – 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 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…

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 – 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 – 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.

PHOTOGRAPHY – HK’s Boom Years: The Best of Fan Ho 14

Since 1956, highly acclaimed Chinese photographer Fan Ho has won over 280 awards from various exhibitions and competitions around the world. Largely self-taught, he is best known for documenting HK during the boom years in the 50s and 60s. Ho was born in Shanghai and developed a fascination with cities – exploring urban life, alleyways, markets, slums and streets with his camera.

More at Wikipedia.  Click for more photography and historical entries.

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PHOTOGRAPHY – Pictures of Hong Kong in 1972 11

Nick DeWolf captured daily life in Hong Kong during a trip to Asia in 1972 – there are hundreds more on his Flickr. It was the same year as the deadly Po Shan Road landslide (video at the bottom) and the year a British luxury liner sank in Victoria Harbour. 1972 was also the year in which President Richard Nixon became the first US President to visit the mainland – arguably the beginning of its opening up.

Click here for newly unearthed pictures from the 50s, here for an ‘old and new’ side-by-side comparison, here for some more vintage shots, or here to see how the HK harbour has evolved over the decades. For all historical entries, click here.