c.1920 Des Voeux Road, Central | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

c.1920 Des Voeux Road, Central

c.1920 Des Voeux Road, Central

Where: This is the same stretch of road we saw in the previous photo, but looking in the opposite direction. Here's the previous photo again, looking east along Des Voeux Road from Pedder Street:

In this week's photo we're looking west from the junction with Ice House Street.

When: In the previous photo I struggled to find anything that gave a firm date, but here the tram's roof helps us out.


Canvas roofs like this one were in use from 1913 on. In 1925, the fully enclosed upper-deck was introduced, though it took a few years to convert all the trams [1]. So I'll guess this photo was taken somewhere between those dates, around 1920.

Who: The couple of gentlemen in the foreground look to be waiting for the tram to stop and let them on.


Maybe they're heading to Causeway Bay, the destination shown on the tram's sign. They also had the option to take one of the rickshaws or sedan chairs we can see in the background, but the tram was a lot faster over longer distances.

What: This stretch of road started and ended with a hotel. The closest building on the right was the King Edward Hotel, on the corner of Ice House Street.


Next to it was the Alexandra Buildings, and beyond that the striped building was the General Post Office, the GPO.  (I think the photographer must have taken the previous photo from upstairs in the GPO building.)

The buildings on the left are five of the six buildings between Ice House Street and Pedder Street.

Buildings on left

The tallest building in the distance is the six-storey North Wing of the Hong Kong Hotel, finished in 1892. I guess that the shorter buildings we can see are all older than that, since it would be unusual in Hong Kong to demolish a building and not build the new one as tall as possible!

Here's the 1911 map [2] again, showing this area (note that south is at the top):

1911 Map of Central

If you know any more about those older buildings, eg when they were built and by who, please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks & regards, David


This postcard was published by "K.M. & CO. HONGKONG".


  1. Tram generations.
  2. Plate 3-4, Mapping Hong Kong book.

Reference: NA009

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Thursday, January 1, 1920