View along Ki Lung Street, this 1965 photo was taken from outside the pre-war shophouses #5-7 Ki Lung Street which remains standing today (to the left but out of view). The far end of the tall buildings is about Boundary Street my home.
Lai Chi Kok Road and Nathan Road were main thoroughfares, and due to its alignment with Portland Street, Ki Lung Street was quiet. Seeing a parked car was unusual in the 1950s, but no longer true by 1965.
The tall building on the left was built, my estimate, in the early 1960s. One of its shops displayed its sign “New Spain Dance Hall” / 新西班牙舞廳. The dance hall still operates making it the oldest shop on the block.
Boundary St/Portland St
My father's shop Luen Kwong Electrical 聯光電器 was located at 33 Boundary St at the junction of Portland St/Boundary St. from the 1940s to about 1962. The neighbourhood young men used to hang out outside the shop to socialize in the evening after supper.
You probably have bought firewood and charcoal for your stoves from my uncles' shop 建興 across from the gov. clinic at the intersection of Yu Chau St./Cedar 白楊 St. Do you have any photos of those areas?
Prior to the mid-50s, there was a maybe 10ftx10ftx2ft high red brick platform on the street at the junction of Boundary St & Cheung Sha Wan Rd. We used to get up there to play. It was probably used by the Chinese customs people when Boundary St. was the boundary.
There was a 金門 bakery on Tai Po Rd., their buns were more expensive than the going price of $0.10 each. They were probably one of the first to offer a ham and egg bun. and their "cream bun" was completely different than what the others offered.
Boundary St and Poplar St Shops
Greetings, and thank you tkjho for your feedback. Sorry I don’t have any photos of my Ki Lung Street - Boundary Street neighbourhood. Since I lived there until 1964, we were neighboours.
Luen Kwong Electrical 聯光電器 at 33 Boundary Street - I seem to remember its Chinese name. Whenever we had electricity cut off, I asked for service from an electrical shop on Boundary Street (Number 21). The man would take off the cover of a small electrical panel located in our flat, removed the broken fuse (looks like a short piece of wire) and installed a new one.
I remember your neighbour the pet shop selling tropical fish. When I kept tropical fish as hobby, I frequented his shop and bought food for my fish. He made fish tanks using puddy-like sealant. I bought charcoal and more regularly kerosene from a nearby shop so it could be your uncle’s shop. You may remember other places at the intersection of Yu Chau St./Cedar 白楊 St.
On the southwest corner was the 2-level restaurant 張深記酒家. We had dinner there occasionally, and a few times had hot meals delivered. They used real bowls and plates, and collected them the next day. To the northwest on Yu Chau Street was the Chinese paper, candle and incense shop. That was my favourite shop because they sold fire-crackers during New Year, and paper lanterns during Mid-Autumn Festival. On the northwest side on Yu Chau Street was a hair salon staffed by young women only 國 華女子美容院 – a sexy name indeed. On Poplar just before Apliu there was a Protestant church. On the east side was a small shop selling pickled snacks and I remember its tasty olives. Elsewhere, I remember that wooden shoes were still popular in the early 1950s, and there were a few shops nearby. They displayed their products on the wall so you could see the decorations. Regards, Peter
Boundary St/Poplar St area
Which street no. were you on? Remember the large pigeon cage outside the windows on the 2nd floor across from the pet shop? The lady that lived in the back half there was my mom's best friend. My dad went to 張深記 for lunch every day.
I remember the open market on Poplar St at Apliu St, 12 small sour Sunkist oranges for $1. There were a few Dai Pai Dongs on the north side of Poplar. Used to watch them make fried dough sticks, pull 腸粉 and make beef meatballs. At the far end of Poplar at Cheung Sha Wan, Kopak bakery restaurant sold rock hard 猪仔包 for $0.1 each.
The pet shop sometimes had a small crocodile (or a cayman). One year around 1955 when I was about 3, on 10/10 there was a street curfew; I went out to the pavement in front of the glass doors at the pet shop and made faces at my dad inside. A British soldier with a rifle sneaked up behind me, I was totally unaware of it until my dad pointed at him. He pretended to run after me and scared me shitless.
Boundary Street/Poplar Street Area (1950s)
Greetings, and hello again tkjho, how great it is to reconnect with a neighbour!
I was at 111 Ki Lung St level 3 (2nd fl) with a walk-out balcony. In 1963, the landlord’s agent visited the tenants separately in our city block. I was at home when the agent showed up. He applied pressure on my grand-father to accept their offer to move out claiming it would be less if not settled early. I remember the $11,500 HK offer. My grand-father was a gentle man, after the agent left, he turned to me and said a bit comfortably “I think we did ok”.
I left HK in 1964, and shortly after that, they rebuilt to the current Po Hing Building. The current ground level shop is Gee Sing Fabric. You may also remember the tea restaurant 東如茶室 at Ki Lung and Boundary, and the primary school 國䧏小學 above it including the rooftop.
Except the crocodile, I have the same memories as yours including the pigeons, Kopak bakery, the same Dai Pai Dong where they made fried dough sticks in a large wok. There, several times I had pig blood curd congee.
Your father must know the two brothers in their early 20s selling newspapers in front of 張深記酒家. They remembered which newspaper you read at the moment you entered the restaurant. Though younger, I befriended them and visited their flat at a 7-level tenement building in Shek Kip Mei. Later they joined the Hong Kong “水雷” police.
The riot took place in 1956 - https://gwulo.com/node/6746
Boundary St/Poplar St area
Hi again Peter,
$11,500 was a pretty generous offer as tenant compensation, you could buy a flat for about $20,000 in the mid-'60s. I don't have any memory of the 東如茶室 area as I was not much of a street kid and did not venture that far. I actually lived on Apliu St half way between Poplar and Maple, 3 minutes walk to the shop, may be close to your grandma's. Never ate at those Dai Pai Dongs as my mom did not approve of their hygienic conditions. Occasionally went to 歐文記 on CSW St. for wonton; watched some people eat raw Asian carp slices with julienned ginger and spring onions, my mom would not order that because of the likelihood of parasites, and she was right. There was a traditional Chinese pastry shop called 信隆餅家 on CSW St. The BBQ meat shop at the NE corner of Boundary/Poplar sometimes would bbq a 掛爐鴨 on a long hand-held rotisserie fork right on the street, with a crowd gathering around to watch. Never saw another 掛爐鴨 being done since then.
Apliu Street between Poplar and Playground (1950s)
Hi tkjho, In1955-57, my other grand-mother was living on level 2 (first floor) Number 23, Apliu Street on the south side. I visited her very often and made friends with other boys from the two opposite blocks. What street number were you at, and were you there during this period?
Does any of the followings ring a bell, or someone you know?
The other people in the same flat were also from Taishan as my family: the owner an old woman; her daughter and family and a son born in about 1943 given name Lay Faet; her daughter-in-law (husband in USA) a boy and girl born in about 1945 and 1946, respectively. The younger generations later moved to USA.
At ground level there was a shipping and packing shop. They nailed lumber pieces together to make shipping boxes, then tied metal strips around to make them strong. One worker was a good bicycle rider.
Closer towards Poplar Street, either Number 1 or 3, next to the service lane, was a shop that made hairpins. After the pins came out of the machine, us boys, me included, would clamp them close together by hand onto a metal strip. Next, the owner sprayed black paint, and hanged them up to dry. After drying, we removed the pins from the metal strip. I remember my hands got black when the ink was not completely dry. We were paid by the number of strips we handled. I don’t remember the pay, but would not dispute if someone called it child-labour.
Two levels above the hairpin factory were a mother and her two boys born in about mid 1940s. One boy was very good in shooting marbles and his nickname was boun-ghar-chai (broken tooth kid). They moved to Yiu Tung Street north of Tai Po and Nam Cheung junction, and after that, to USA.
On the north side at mid block was a electric shop providing services and selling dry batteries one brand called Seven-Goats 七羊. You might know their son 雷光華, nickname Num Che as in soft persimmon. He is my distant relative. Several shops from them, towards the playground still on the north side, was a shop with industrial fabric-making machines. During the 1950s, there were many such shops in Sham Shui Po. When they operate, you can see their large spools spinning on their vertical axle. I don’t know who smoked but in their backyard there was a smoke pipe made of bamboo. I played mahjong with the son about my age.
Two shops from the playground, on the north side, was another friend of mine called Ah Buon. His father sold popsicles from his bicycle, a subject we currently discuss in another page. Besides playing on the street, we went to the rural area searching for fighting spiders – a popular hobby among boys in those days.
In 1955, a man set up a comic book rental place below grandma’s room. The poor man had to haul all his books there every morning and set them up, then collected them before going home. I read some of his comic books. He didn’t stay long, due to either poor business or got kicked out by shop owners.
The other comic book rental place, at mid block on the north side, operated for a long time, and was most likely very close to your home. The staircase was part of his service area. He looked like he came from the north, Shanghai perhaps, and spoke softly every time I visited his place. My sister told me prior to this operation, he came one time knocking on our door begging for money or food.
During the 1956 riot, the government imposed a curfew. No one was allowed to walk on main streets including Tai Po Road. One riot squad came into our Apliu block, and the captain pulled out his revolver and ordered the land-lady’s son to get inside and away from the balcony. The police were very serious, like the one they scared you at the pet shop.
OK, one more incident before this memory fades away. It was after dinner time, just before the sky turned dark. The street was absolutely empty and quiet, and I believe I was the only person looking onto the western part of the street. I saw a man running from below us (likely along the block from Poplar), angled towards the northwest corner where he disappeared but not before crying out loud “救命啊” (literal translation “Save life please/beg you). Another man was chasing after him about 20 feet behind and he too disappeared around the corner. A minute and two later, that part of the street was filled with about 50 people young and old wondering what had happened. Could you be one of them?
My apology if too long or mundane. Regards, Peter
Apliu St 1st block '50-'60s
I was born at the midwife's next door to Kopak Bakery and lived on Apliu from 1952-1962. I think the street # of the shop that made wooden boxes was #12 and not #23. Those boxes were similar in size to today's one pallet load, maybe it was before HK had any container terminals, or they were loaded inside the containers before pallets were invented. I was on the back half of the 2nd level of #14, with a shop that cut, bent and spot-welded galvanized sheet metal into boxes etc on the G/F. The front half of my home had a cottage industry factory that made fibre-board suitcases. The view I had was into the back lane and the 天井 area. I did not know of any of the names that you mentioned, as they were 5-10 years older, and have vague memories of people talking about the violent incident. Across the street, on the 2nd level of #15 was my bro's classmate named WONG Chai Yan (Taishanese), his family moved to the USA in 1961 or so. On the G/F of #11 or #13, there was a bakery factory that made Vanilla Swiss Roll cake, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY3jPKYcLks, they put trays and trays of cakes out on the sidewalk and rolled them there. BTW I think the batteries were 五羊牌 and not 7, as we sold the same brand. I also used to go to watch the soccer games at the CSW playground in the late afternoon after finishing my schoolwork. sometimes a semi-pro player might join in a game.
Apliu Street 1st block '50s-'60s
Thanks for the response, tjkho. I don't recognize the names you mentioned, nor the shop that made Swiss Roll cake which likely opened after my grandma has moved away. Several years later, I returned to the block and could not find any of my friends, and some shops have moved away.
#23 was my grandma's address, for simplicity, I lumped it with the men at #21 who in 1956 fastened metal straps to wooden boxes using the sidewalk as their work place. Their boxes might have been nailed together at the back of the shop which I could not see or hear. I should have counted my sheep accurately (thanks for the correction), I was debating whether to press 5 or 7.
Your birth certificate likely lists Cheung Sha Wan Road as the address. What are the odds of having two midwife services next to Kopak. Yes, my younger brother was also born there, still remember climbing up the stairs there to visit my mom. Regards, Peter
Midwife clinic on Cheung Sha Wan Road
https://gwulo.com/atom/32012 Hi tkjho, you will be interested in this photo, if you have not seen it before. Except for the newer cars and upgraded Kopak's front, the street scene should be very similar to that ten years earlier. Corrections and comments welcome! Regards, Peter