c.1904 View of Union Church and east along Kennedy Road | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

c.1904 View of Union Church and east along Kennedy Road

c.1904 View of Union Church and east along Kennedy Road

This is one of a set of four photographs that were sold marked 'c.1900'.

The hill on the left of the photograph is where the British Military Hospital will be seen later. That opened in 1907, so the photo was taken earlier than that. However if you zoom in to the hill, it looks as though there is work underway there. Construction of hospital lasted from 1903-1906, so I'm estimating 1904 for the photo.

The Union Church is the main landmark in the centre of the photo, with the sloping Peak Tram tracks in front of it.

Does anyone recognise any of the buildings behind the church? The building furthest up the slope looks to be a grand construction. It still has bamboo scaffolding around it, but it seems just about complete.

In the front left of the photo we see Kennedy Round. In the lower left corner it turns out of view, starting the sharp curve that brings it around to join Garden Road.

On the right of the road is a new retaining wall. I think it will be about where Kennedy Heights is today. There is still an imposing retaining wall there today - you see it if you catch buses from Admiralty to mid-levels. After they leave Cotton Tree Drive they turn onto Kennedy Road. There's a bus stop in front of the wall, and a few shops built in to it. Could today's wall be the same as the one in this photo?

I'm also curious to know where the photographer was standing to take the photo. On the back of the photo is handwritten: "On the terrace - Hong Kong". I think the photographer would have stood roughly where today's Cotton Tree Drive is. But on a 1930s map if I move westwards from Kennedy Road I just see a pumping station building, then the Albany Nullah, then Garden Road, then the botanical gardens. Maybe he was on a terrace in the Botanical Gardens?

As usual, any extra info / corrections / comments welcome.

Regards, David

Reference: A35D

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Friday, January 1, 1904


The retaining wall is where the Kingsclere Gatehouse was built.  You photo shows the building of the driveway to Kingsclere.  I've just create a "place" Kingsclere where you can compare the gatehouse with your photo. 


Kingsclere - 1900
places your photos before 1900 when I believe Kingsclere was finished.

One of the buildings looks to be 28 Kennedy Rd (see photo) - currently the Offices of former Chief Executives of the HKSAR - aka Tung Che Hwa.

Ten years ago it was "The Design Center".

It was used as a school, and I knew Isobel Park, who was headmistress there in the 1950s, who recently passed away.


Thanks Annelise, well spotted. I hadn't linked your post about Kingsclere to this photo til now.

As Moddsey notes, the land was sold to Belilios in July 1896, so we're looking at a date between 1896 and 1900.

It looks as though construction of Kingsclere wasn't anywhere near finished (no gatehouse, road still a rough track) when the photo was taken. Have you come across any dates for when they started construction work?

There is a common postcard of the Peak Tram that shows the entire building in scaffolding - but it looks complete. 

Regarding the "terrace" from which the photo was taken, perhaps it was from the Botanical Gardens' terrace entrance just across Garden Road.



I have also been approached regarding two private hotels,― Kingsclere and a private boarding house, consisting of four houses in MacDonnell Road. It is proposed to put 25 houses on the Kingsclere site, and to substitute for two houses of the boarding house, and one other independent house in MacDonnell Road, eight or ten houses.

remarks in Legco by HON. MR. A. G. M. FLETCHER, C.M.G., C.B.E.
(Colonial Secretary)


Try matching the buildings to the 1901 map.

1901 Map - Kennedy and MacDonnell Roads - Sheet 16

Looks very possible doesn't it? Both photos are about level with the church.

Another H C White photo of the terrace overlooking Union Church. Probably taken before 1900.


I saw another copy of this photo in an old album this week. The section with photos from Hong Kong was dated 1901, so further evidence of an earlier date than my initial guess.