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

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

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

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

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. 


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

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

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.