Hong Kong Fire Brigade | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Hong Kong Fire Brigade

Hong Kong Fire Brigade

Does anyone recognise where this was taken?

From the tower it looks like it's a fire station. The buildings look like Wanchai or one of the roads parallel to Nathan Road.

Note the kids sitting on the ledge, top-left corner of the building!!

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Tuesday, January 1, 1935


The tower appears identical to the one at the Fire Station on Hennessy Road and Lockhart Road in Causeway Bay


Also that looks like Jardine's Lookout in the background, which would fit.

you can see the site here in this 1931 photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53652797@N06/5350928725/sizes/l/in/photostream/

An article on page 7 of the December 5, 1935 issue of the HK Telegraph seems to be describing this event. If so, it's Wanchai.

The article refers to the location as the No 2 Police Station compound in Wanchai. I assume the compund is between Jaffe and Lockhart Roads. As the photos are dated 1935-1937, the Fire Brigade archives confirm that the Annual Fire Drills held during those years were at the No. 2 Police Station compound.

Tenders for the construction of the current Fire Station on Hennessy Road near Canal Road were only put out in late 1940. So I am guessing the Eastern Fire Station as it was known at the time was completed in 1941.

Received as is similar photos from 1935.

Spraying of water from the 1st floor of a 'burning building' onto a canvas tank

1935 Annual Fire Drill Display











Grand finale with the spraying of multiple hoses onto the canvas tanks.

1935 Annual Fire Drill Display











Gentlemen, great detective work, thanks.

Interesting to see the fire brigade and police sharing facilities. I'd assumed that when the central fire station was built, that marked a clear division in the forces. But it looks like they still shared resources for longer than that. Were policemen still also working as firemen in the 1930s?

Looking at the lower-right corner of the white wall facing us, the posters on James' photo are different from those on the photos Moddsey posted, so they'd have been taken at different times / different years.

I've set 'Wanchai police Station' as the Place for this photo.

Thanks again, David

David - 1922 was the year that the Fire Brigade ditched the last policemen doing double duty as firemen, and went fully professional, but the chief of police officially headed the fire brigade until 1941. That year, Jack Cooper Fitz-Henry became the first man appointed to the top of the brigade from within its ranks.

regards, Adam

Thanks Adam, I was hoping you could put me straight on that.

Regards, David

Does anyone know if the tower shown in the pictures was the sole practice tower in HK at that time, or if they had several. Wondering if the same tower ended up in Wanchai Fire Station, where it still stands, or if that was the standard design.

Hi David,

I have one query.

The tower ladder looks quite modern, it reaches four storeys, at least?.  Would it be post-War design?  I browsed the London Fire Brigade web site and the gallery shows pre-War fire engines with ‘real’ ladder.  Sorry if I'm stupid as the main article marks 1935-7.

Couldn’t find much information from Hong Kong Fire Services.

The car (or truck) on lower right corner doesn’t look old to me.


The 1935 HK Telegraph issue mentioned above says: "The long ladder extended itself to its full length, 100 feet, with a fireman perched on the top." So it could go about ten storeys high.


Source 1921 Fire Brigade Annual Report

A temporary Fire Station was opened at Wanchai with accommodation for 20 firemen on 8 December 1921. A 50 foot hose drying and drill tower has been erected at this station.

At the time the Report was written, the Fire Brigade had only one ladder that could reach 50 feet.

No, 2 Police Station Compound. Entrance from Jaffe Road. The rear of No. 2 Police Station is on the left of photo with what looks like a police wagon parked on the street. In the grounds, a fireman is seen hosing a target during the fire drill.

1935 Annual Fire Drill Display








It would be interesting to find out the building that the photos had been taken from.

legco records: Fire Brigade Sub-Station The Governor recommended the Council to vote a sum of $10,700 on account of Public Works, Extraordinary, Hongkong, Buildings, Conversion of the old Cinema shed at Wanchai into a fire Brigade Sub-station. THE CHAIRMAN said this matter had been before the Finance Committee who had approved the expenditure. 1/9/21