Gwulo: Old Hong Kong


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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.

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Kind regards,


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

New on Gwulo: 2021, week 46

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





During the week I called in to Wattis Fine Art to see their current exhibition. On the left as you walk in to their gallery, there's a 1946 poster of the Tiger Balm Gardens.

Tiger Balm Garden.jpg


Two Chinese-style bridges at centre-left caught my eye:

Bridges east of Tiger Balm Gardens


They're outside the gardens, so my first reaction is that the bridges came from the artist's imagination, adding a bit of interest to an otherwise dull section of the poster. But recent conversations about the three pavilions on the hillside above the gardens reached the conclusion they were built as an extension to the gardens, even though they're outside the gardens' land. So, did these bridges actually exist too?


Another recent topic on Gwulo popped up at the end of the exhibition, in this map of the New Territories drawn by R C Hurley in 1925:

New Territories 1925


Here's a closer look at the area I was interested in. The Kowloon reservoirs are at bottom right, above them is the text 'TUNNELS', and a dashed line to the left shows the tunnels' route.

Tunnels Kowloon 1925


On a hike last year I passed this channel, with water flowing out from a large pipe and into a nearby tunnel:

Channel leading to the water tunnel under Smugglers Ridge


Further investigation showed it was the entrance to the North Tunnel, part of the project to bring water from the Shing Mun Valley to the Kowloon reservoirs, and one of the tunnels shown on Hurley's map. It might seem an odd item to get such a prominent mention, but the tunnels were being built as the map was drawn (the North Tunnel was completed in 1926), and Hong Kong's frequent water shortages meant the project was big news.


Those are just two items from either end of the exhibition. In the middle there's lots more to see, with a selection of rare prints and photos of old Hong Kong to enjoy. If you'd like to visit, don't wait too long as the exhibition closes on December 3rd: exhibition highlights, address, and opening hours.




New on Gwulo: 2021, week 45

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





New on Gwulo: 2021, week 44

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




Christmas gift idea - a framed print of a Gwulo photo

I'd previously only offered unframed prints for sale, but earlier this year my sister-in-law moved to a new flat and I had a couple of my prints framed as a house-warming gift. I was very pleased with how they turned out, so in future Gwulo's prints are also available framed. (The unframed prints are still available, in case you have your own preferences for how you'd like them framed.)

Here's an example:

Framed Gwulo print


The prints are the type you see in art galleries and museums. The frame includes a two inch / five cm wide mat as the border, a classic black frame, and anti-reflective glass. For the image to be framed, you can choose from any of the photos in the online catalogue, and if you have my books you can also choose from any of the photos shown in them.

The price varies according to the size of the print, as follows:

  • Standard: longest side of printed image is 10 inches / 25 cm long
    • Print only @ HK$500 
    • Framed print @ HK$1,500 
  • Large: longest side of printed image is 15 inches / 37.5 cm long
    • Print only @ HK$900 
    • Framed print @ HK$2,000
  • Extra-large: longest side of image is 20 inches / 50 cm long
    • Print only @ HK$1,500 
    • Framed print @ HK$2,700
  • Custom: size according to your requirements, price to be confirmed

If you'd like to order one, please contact me ( and let me know which photo you've chosen, the size you'd like it printed, and whether you'd like to have it framed or unframed.

Please allow three weeks for printing and framing, so any orders for Christmas gifts will need to be placed by the end of November.




New on Gwulo: 2021, week 43

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





New on Gwulo: 2021, week 41

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


Quarantine's end

This time tomorrow I'll be out of quarantine at last.

If you need to book a quarantine package, I've been happy with my stay here at Four Points by Sheraton in Tung Chung: comfortable room, good service, fast wifi, and no complaints about the food. (I do have one complaint though - the title of the hotel deal: Fun-filled Quarantine Stay Package in Hong Kong. "Fun-filled"??? Whoever wrote that should be forced to spend three weeks in quarantine!)

Hopefully you won't have to spend quite so long in quarantine by the time it is your turn. Local Doctor David Owens asks "Is Hong Kong’s 21-Day Quarantine evidence-based or justified?". Short answer: no.


Next on Gwulo

Apologies for the recent glut of newsletters, but they've certainly kept me busy and made the last three weeks fly by. We'll go from feast to famine, as once I'm home again I'll get back to work on upgrading the Gwulo website to the new software. It will take several months to finish, and during that time I'll focus on the upgrade so the newsletters will mostly be just the "New on Gwulo:" summaries.






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