c.1905 Buildings on the Peak | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

c.1905 Buildings on the Peak

c.1905 Buildings on the Peak

This photo was likely taken in the first quarter of the 20th Century, but please leave a comment if you can help narrow down the date.

I recognise a couple of the buildings. In the centre, the boxy, white building is the Peak Church.

To its right is a terrace, Stewart Terrace, of buildings on slightly different levels as the hill slopes downward. The Terrace faces west, and if you zoom in you can see that several buildings have their awnings open, keeping out the late afternoon sun.

The photos is an old, split-back postcard, titled 'View of Buildings on the Peak, Hongkong.' The back shows:

Published by M. Sternberg, Stationer & Bookseller.
Pictorial Post Card Dealer, 68 Queen's Rd. Central, Hongkong

Reference: A07

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Sunday, January 1, 1905


As a matter of fact I do.

Mt. Gough looking from Mt. Kellett - house names

Top to bottom, left to right

The Mount (Jardines)

Wellburn (just a bit of it)

Government Villas

Dunnotar (two rectangles but one property)

The Neuk

- into the center ...

Peak Church

Stokes Bungalow (East and West)

The Falls

- off to the right ...

Leigh Tor

not sure if these had names (one of two houses behind the Police Station)

Stewart Terrace



Here is a colour version that is very clear

Mt. Gough looking from Mt. Kellett

Thanks Annelise, I was hoping we'd hear from you!

This must have been a popular postcard of the time, given the different variations available.

Any idea when the original photo was taken? Either from your knowledge of the buildings, or possibly from a postmark if any of these postcards were used?

Regards, David

Just wondering...is it possible to take a "now" photograph to contrast with the "then" ones in this topic?  :)

David, is it possible to arrow point the various buildings that Annelise has mentioned onto the postcard/photo? Best Regards.

Does Gwulo have a way I can "tag" the buildings in the photos like you can on Facebook?

If not, if someone starts a Gwulo group on Facebook I'll be happy to post what I have, properly tagged. 



Take the #1 minibus to Matilda Hospital and look back.  If there is a good shot, you will see it from the minibus.

Or, go to the Peak Fire Station, and just walk along Mt. Kellett Rd.  There are two sheer drop-offs that should offer nice photos opportunities.

Also, go to Google Books and type in "Peak Church". There is a photo at a similar angle, but taken about 20 years earlier in Voices from the Past: Hong Kong, 1842-1918, By Solomon Bard.  (pay no attention to the caption in the book.  It is not entirely accurate).  Get your bearings off the Peak Church and Stokes Bungalow center right to compare to these postcards.



According to the Public Records Office, the land for the house at the very top right just below Mt. Gough Peak, Tanderagee, was leased by the Government in March 1905 to Alfred Bryer, Architect with Leigh & Orange (CSO 1/217/17 & Jury list). So it cannot be before that date.

Moddsey, if you view the larger version of the photo, the boxes Annelise drew around the buildings are clearer.

Annelise, maybe a bright colour like red would be a better choice if you're doing something similar in future?

Hi Annelise, you can add tags to photos, forum posts, etc. Though currently only the author can add tags. eg you can add tags to photos you've created, but not to photos I've created.

If you're tagging buildings that appear in photos, there's a better feature: places. They are like tags, but are specifically for places and buildings. There's a full description of how they work and how to add them here.

Let me know if you have any trouble using this feature.

Regards, David

Thanks. Based on your info I'm guessing the range is 1905-1925, so I've set the date to 1915 for now. If anyone can narrow down the date further, please let us know.

On Gwulo I can only figure out how to match a building/location to the Google map - not to  the photo itself.  So, I've posted it onto my Facebook page, and tagged it there.  I can't zoom in as well as Gwulo can, but it is a start, and I've added the actual Rural Building Lot numbers so they can be cross referenced to other postcards/photos.  I'll add one more from an earlier time.  Here is the first one.


Thanks Annelise for the confirmation of the buildings and rural building lots. Cheers.

Peak Church is in extreme right middle.

1880s Buildings on the Peak


You're right, we can't tag onto the photo. It's a useful feature to have with photos like this, so thanks for linking us to your tagged photos on Facebook.

Mt. Gough from Mt. Kellett

As you can see, I figured out how to use the "place" feature.  I've been having a very fun day of posting !  :)

Yes, I've just been looking through all the new places and images. You've certainly been busy!

In fact it's been a busy couple of days for the website - thanks to everyone who has posted.

Regards, David

Hi David,

Your picture doesn't have the original Peak School in it, now Peak Fire Station (www.gwulo.com/node/5230). Its future site in your photo is between Government Villas and Dunnottar. The tender for its construction was awarded in 12-1914, with completion and occupation in 9-1915 (PWD Report 1915), so your photo must date from before site clearance which was probably in early 1915.

Thanks for the extra clue. I'll set it back to c.1910.

Regards, David

The date that Davids photo was taken can be narrowed down further by reference to the buildings standing on Mount Gough, the rocky peak in its top right corner.

Coming down the ridge line from the peak itself as far as Plantation Gap, the buildings in sequential order are, the house called "Mount Gough", "Brockhurst", "Bicton/Burrington" (one building) and "Red Hill". Additionally, the building beneath Brockhurst as we look at it is "Kirkendoa".

Of these, "Brockhurst" was constructed way back in the 1880's so doesn't help us with dating this pic. Later, "Kirkendoa" was completed in 1897/8 (PRO, see http://gwulo.com/node/5184). Red Hill was completed by 1898 (mentioned in 1898 Peak Directory), and "Bicton/Burrington" by 1899 (mentioned in 1899 Peak Directory & Ladies Directory), but I don't have their construction dates. The photo was therefore taken in 1898 or later. 

By 1909 both the house called "Mount Gough" and its immediate neighbour "The Ridge" (https://gwulo.com/node/5741 , which stood between the house called "Mount Gough" and "Brockhurst") had been built as both are marked in the 1909 Peak Map. However, Davids photo only shows the house called "Mount Gough", not "The Ridge" - the future site of which is vacant. The photo must therefore have been taken before 1909 by which time both would have been seen.

To summarize, the photo was taken between 1898 and 1909.