HK Island 16 June '46.jpeg | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

HK Island 16 June '46.jpeg

HK Island 16 June '46.jpeg
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Monday, January 1, 1940


The pillbox on the western arm of the Vehicular Ferry Pier is not visible. I guess the photo was taken before the war.

If you zoom in to look down the road on the left side of Central Fire Station, the building standing immediately behind it is visable and displays bold, black and white, horizontal stripes. It's Central Market ( Its construction was completed in 1938, so the photo must have been taken in or after 1938.

Next zoom in on Blake's Pier (, the outer end of which faces you near the left edge of the photo. Originally, that end of the pier was a sloping gable, but following war damage, it was removed in 1948. I don't know if the war damage was caused during the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941 or during the Allied bombing later in the War. The sloping gable shows up clearly in the photo confirming it was taken pre-1948, and probably before the end of the War in 1945.

Moddsey observed above that Pillbox 63 was absent from the photo. Its "place" page ( gives an approximate construction date of 1939, but it may have been a bit later judging by Rob's remarks at that the construction of coastal pillboxes started after the finalization of the 1938 Defence Plan, but those on the south, east and west coasts were constructed first, with those on the north coast completed later, but still prior to the outbreak of war in December 1941.

Based on all the above, I'd say the photo was taken between 1938 and 1941, probably in 1939 or 40. 

Thanks GW and Moddsey for the replies. The photo in question has a general description and the date of 16 June '46 written on the back of the photo by my grandfather who was making a tour of schools to HK, Singapore, Ceylon and others so the date fits in with the other 40 or so photos I have. I have also posted a photo of the Japanese memorial overlooking the harbour so that must be post war. A diary of his trip by flying boat from Croydon unfortunately ends when he arrived at Penang so I dont have any details for the HK visit itself!

Hi Andrew,

Photo albums from around this time usually have a mix of photos taken by the visitor, and postcards / photos they bought as souvenirs. It can make putting an accurate date on a photo a challenge!

Sometimes you can see which type a photo belongs to by the size of the print - usually the set that are from the visitor's camera are all the same size. The professional photos are often a mix of sizes, and may be sharper than the amateur photos due to them having better camera, using a tripod, etc.

Anyway, it's a very interesting set of photos, thank you very much for posting them. I've made a gallery to group them together, and make it easier to step through all the photos. I've currently called it "1946 SHP's photos", but if you can let me know your grandfather's name I'll update it.

Regards, David


Thanks for all the feedback regarding the photos I have posted. You are right that some are a small size and these all relate to the late '30s though they are not postcards. I have several photos which I cannot place so I'll post these shortly to see if anyone can identify them.

SHP was Sydney Harvey Plumbly who was my grandfather who had been a school master in Warnham, Sussex and became a schools inspector. In late April '46 he and four others made a trip to the Far East by flying boat even landing for lunch some days! (5 days with each night in a hotel) via Marseille, Augusta, Cairo, Bahrain, Karachi, Allalabad, Calcutta, Rangoon, Penang, Singapore, HK and back to England via Ceylon. Nearly two months away in total which today we would do in 10 days! Though the diary is interesting reading, I won't post it as it does not cover the HK part.

thanks again for your comments.