1906 View of Hong Kong from the harbour | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1906 View of Hong Kong from the harbour

1906 View of Hong Kong from the harbour

When: This comes from a collection of photos taken around the time of the 1906 typhoon, so I'll assume 1906 as the date.

Where: We're looking at the new Praya (Connaught Road) stretching from Pedder Street on the left across to Queen Victoria Street on the right, with mid-levels in the distance behind it.

What: Zoom in to the buildings on the left, we'll take a look along the seafront.

We can just see a sliver of King's Building on the far left, with the slightly taller Mansions Building (later renamed 'Union Building') next door. They both opened in 1905, so they are almost brand new. If you looked east (left) from here, the buildings on the newly reclaimed land were almost all complete. The Supreme Court Building was still under construction, but otherwise the area was built up in a very short time.

West of Pedder Street, construction was moving at a slower pace. You can see a mass of bamboo poles rising up. They mark the site where the new General Post Office is being built. Above the bamboo we can see the Hong Kong Hotel in the background, still able to claim a sea view ... if you lean your head out of the right window.

The dark structure in front of Mansions Building is Blake Pier. It had a matshed shelter built over it in 1903 to keep off sun and rain. No sign of it here though. It was destroyed during the 1906 typhoon, so this must be a post-typhoon photo.

West of the GPO are the 9 arches of Nos 15-23, Connaught Road. (Note the numbers don't increase in 2's as road numbers usually do. There weren't any buildings across the road - just sea! So the building numbers increase 15 - 16 - 17 - etc.) The first three belong to a single company. I can't make out the company name, but the middle sign says they are 'Ship Chandlers', providing supplies to the many ships visiting Hong Kong.

Next a break for Douglas Street, then another building with the bamboo up. This one looks nearly finished though.

Next runs a long row of identical buildings. It's interesting to see that in just a short distance we've gone from the ornate buildings to something much plainer. This building runs right along to Pottinger Street.

The last block in this photo runs to Queen Victoria Street, but so far only one half has been built on. The second half would eventually be built in a very similar style, making it look like a single building.

Over on the far right, we can just make out the Central Market building. Nothing has been built on the reclaimed land in front of it, which is why we can see through to the market back on Des Voeux Road. I'm not sure why, but this piece of land stayed empty for many more years, until the Fire Station was completed here in 1926.

There's a cloud of smoke rising up in front of the market building. That's from a boat tied up at the pier there. It's a ferry, running between Yau Ma Tei and Hong Kong island.

Who: We're too far away to get a good look at anyone, though it's clear the Blake Pier is busy. There's a good crowd on the pier, and a couple of launches moving in to pick up / deliver passengers.

That's what I can spot. What else can you see?

Regards, David

Reference: BA058

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Thursday, November 1, 1906


I can find 14 Conduit Road.  Find Marble Hall, center, very white.  Go to your right and you can see it, straight up from the "." of gwulo.com - wedged in behind Benfica.

In fact, using the 1901 map, I can probably name all the houses up on Conduit and Robinson Road.

The Supreme Court Building (today's Legco) is not in the photo but the Pedder Street Clocktower is visible.

Same photo postcard shot.

1906 Praya Central

Moddsey, great to see another version of this.

If anyone enjoys playing 'spot the difference' between two slightly different versions of the same picture, can you spot the difference between these two? There was a small damaged section in the black & white version which I had to patch using Photoshop.

We've seen postcard & photo versions of the same view a few times now. I think photographers of the time must have offered tourists a cheaper postcard version, or a more expensive photograph version to take home.

Regards, David

Found a photo on Flickr that shows the buildings a bit more clearly, especially when you go to Flickr. The sign reads: "South China Morning Post Ltd."

Connaught Road ca. 1907
Connaught Road ca. 1907, by Mayor McCheese

The ornate building on the 1906 photo is still under construction, so I suggest to change the construction date from 1900 to 1906.

Here's an enlarged version:

Buildings with nine arches Nos 15-23, Connaught Road (1907)
Buildings with nine arches Nos 15-23, Connaught Road (1907), by Klaus

> The ornate building on the 1906 photo is still under construction,
> so I suggest to change the construction date from 1900 to 1906.

I hadn't noticed the scaffolding on this building in the 1906 photo - well spotted!

I guessed a 1900 completion date because the building is seen in the 1901 photo, https://gwulo.com/atom/19383. It is already complete in that view, so maybe in 1906 there was some maintenance underway that needed scaffolding?