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'.

History on the streets - Hong Kong's street furniture and more

Two weeks ago today I visited Cambridge for the first time. I was only there for a few hours, but it was a lovely sunny day, and I enjoyed a stroll through the streets, admiring all the beautiful old buildings.


Hong Kong's buildings seem to have a typical lifespan of just 60-70 years, so you won't find any similar scenes here. There are still plenty of traces of Hong Kong's history to be found though, we just have to look a little harder.

Approaching the world with a curious eye, then sharing discoveries and questions is what Gwulo is all about. This newsletter starts with an example from Mak Ho-yin, moves on to list a bunch of readers' discoveries, then gives some tips on how you can share your own...


An outstanding Nathan Road
by Mak Ho-yin

At the Newsletter of 2021 week 24, the title “Roman Tam and the Four Steps” leads me to the article “Purple Onion Discotheque”, and the photo “Bars Kowloon mid-1970s” catch my eyes. It shows the

Tuck's postcards of Hong Kong

When I visit the UK I try to match it with the dates of a postcard fair or two, to see if I can find any Hong Kong scenes. In last month's visit I went along to a fair at Woking, and as I walked around I heard lots of buyers and sellers say this was the first event they'd attended since lockdown. I was lucky!

Woking postcard fair


On one stand I found these three postcards for sale:

1. "Hongkong - A portable groceteria" - though I think he's

New on Gwulo: 2021, week 36

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





1933-34: Photos from Warren Swire's sixth visit to Hong Kong

It's three years to the day since I last wrote about Warren Swire's photos, so we're long overdue for another instalment. This batch of photos come from his visit to Hong Kong in 1933-34. He was keeping to his usual schedule of a visit every 4-5 years, having last visited in 1928-29, and was also keeping to his usual themes for the photos he took.


Industry at Quarry Bay

The Taikoo dockyard and sugar refinery always get a photo or two. This first photo, marked "Ship repairs" actually shows a submarine being worked on. I've seen photos of submarines in Hong Kong's dry docks before, but this is the first time I've seen one pulled up onto a slipway. The cable that pulls a vessel up the slipway and out of the water is shown running across the photo from the large winch on the right.

Ship repairs, Hong Kong Dockyard (sw08-114)
Ship repairs, Hong Kong Dockyard (sw08-114), by G Warren Swire


The second photo shows two ships on the slipway, and the

11 Sep 1945, Sailing from Hong Kong to Australia

Date(s) of events described: 
Tuesday, September 11, 1945
Book / Document: 

In September 1945, thousands of recently released POWs and civilian internees were sailing away from Hong Kong, heading towards home, family and a chance to recuperate from the hardships of the recent years.

Among the group sailing on the Empress of Australia was widowed mother Una Brown and her young daughter Annette. Born in 1940, most of Annette's short life to that point had been spent within the confines of Stanley Internment Camp. She appears in this photo taken at the camp shortly after the Japanese surrender. (Annette is sitting at front left, labelled 2A).

Children at Stanley Camp


Below, Annette shares her family's memories of the trip from Hong Kong to Australia.



Una Brown & daughter Annette
Our journey from Hong Kong (Stanley Camp) to Australia Sept/Oct 1945

We sailed from Hong Kong on


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