Gwulo: Old Hong Kong


Welcome to, and over 30,000 pages about old Hong Kong.

If it's your first visit, you might like to use the search box at the top of the page to find what you're looking for, check out the latest old photos, or just scroll down to browse through recent articles.

I hope you'll join in too, and share your questions and knowledge with us. Most pages let you leave a comment, it's easy to upload a photo, and the Forum is waiting for you to post a new message.

Finally, if you're interested in Hong Kong history, please stay in touch by signing up for Gwulo's free weekly newsletter.

Kind regards,


PS 'Gwu lo' is roughly how '古老' sounds in Cantonese. It means 'ancient' or 'old-fashioned'.

New on Gwulo: 2021, week 35

I spent last month in the UK, sending our older daughter to start at university, and catching up with friends and family. I arrived back in Hong Kong yesterday.

Gwulo's newsletters were on pause while I was away, but since I'm stuck in my quarantine hotel room for the next three weeks, expect to see some extra issues!


A look at what's new on the Gwulo website...


New on Gwulo: 2021, week 34

A look at what's new on the Gwulo website...





THE FAR EASTERN REVIEW - Hong Kong Articles & Reports

Guest author Peter Crush introduces a little-known resource with valuable information about the development of Hong Kong's industry and infrastructure in the early 20th century.


(Monthly Journal published in Manila & then later Shanghai 1904 - 1941)

Typical Front Cover Designs - The Far Eastern Review

The logo of The Far Eastern Review and examples of front covers



Over the past 24 months I have created a number of Gwulo forum ‘Topics’ as well as posting individual images selected from this journal (hereafter the “FER”). Administrator David asked if it would be possible to prepare an index of Hong Kong-related extracts and post this as a forum topic for the benefit of followers and other researchers of Hong Kong history. I initially baulked at this suggestion bearing in mind that the entire run of 37 annual volumes (each, with a few exceptions, having twelve monthly issues) has overall about thirty thousand pages if advertisement pages are included. It had taken me some twenty years on and off to trawl through this journal looking for any pages containing any mention of early Chinese railway construction, which is my own area of special interest. I eventually finished my index project for Chinese railways within the FER last year. That project was not made easy by the FER’s own poorly constructed and inconsistent indexes, which in some in some years were entirely completely lacking.

After further consideration I have prepared a provisional index for Hong Kong related reports within the FER based upon those annual Indexes or ‘Contents’ lists where they do exist. I have also utilized my accumulated knowledge of how this journal mutated and evolved in style over the years to search in other sections for likely references to Hong Kong (or rather “Hongkong”, as was the normal spelling in this era).

The list below should not be regarded as exhaustive. In the first few years there were no annual indexes but (sometimes) short “Contents” lists which were limited to major articles. Many shorter reports were not listed but were published within sections of the magazine captioned (inconsistently) as Railway News, Engineering News, Construction News, Mining News, Shipping News or Commercial & Financial Reports etc.

For more detailed information about this journal including its history, evolution and how to find access to library holdings it is suggested that researchers should first read the Wikipedia page about The Far Eastern Review (follow this link) which was also created by Wikipedia & Gwulo contributor ‘Chinarail’.

FER- Examples of Front Covers with Hong Kong articles

(Above) Examples of FER front covers containing articles about Hong Kong


Articles & Reports within the FER relating to Hong Kong

New on Gwulo: 2021, week 32

A look at what's new on the Gwulo website...





Memories of my childhood years in Hong Kong, 1947-1951

In this week's newsletter, guest author Celia Hicks remembers her childhood years in Hong Kong. Celia has provided several family photos, and I've added in extra photos from the Gwulo website where they match the story.

I arrived in Hong Kong in 1947 as a six-year old with my mother Winifred Alice Collins and older sister Sheila on the troop ship Dunera to join my Dad who had been posted to HK by the Admiralty after the Japanese surrender. He had travelled out via Malta in 1946 and must have seen the devastation caused to the island by German bombing raids. Malta had been crucial in being a supply and repair location for the Allied war efforts. It has been said that Malta received more bombs than London suffered in the blitz. It survived, which is why its Government was presented with the George Cross by King George VI.

My father, George C. S. Collins, had travelled out on the aircraft carrier Ocean to become the Superintendent of Gyro Compasses for the Far East, based at the HK Dockyard. At that time, we had a large Navy as did the Americans.

HMS Ocean

HMS Ocean, by Celia Hicks


On arrival he joined other men at The Cecil Hotel where rats visited the rooms at night! Also


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