HongKongtramways.jpg | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong



My Grandfather, William Hunter Paterson, was a Secetary of the Hong Kong Tramways Company from 1947 to 1968, seated front row to the right of the man with dark glasses. This photo was taken at Sharp Steet Depot



That's a great photo - very sharp.

Please could you let us know your grandfather's name, in case any readers knew him? If you have names for any of the other people in the photo, it'd be good to know them too.

Regards, David

I can identify the following, all sitting in the front row:-

1st from left:  Eddie Jones (Engineer)

4th from left:  My father - Thomas (Tom) Waller (Chief Engineer)

5th from left:  C.S.Johnstone  (General Manager)

What I can't figure out is who were all those big guys in military style uniforms in the second row to the right?

Fascinating photo!

My father thinks the two in black uniforms are tram drivers. The three to their right he thinks might be ticket inspectors. He says that job was mostly for Chinese but a lot of Portuguese worked for the tramways. So possible.

The men in uniform were European inspectors. My father was in the middle of the 3 men in uniforms group, to the left of the 2 Chinese men in black uniforms. 

I have the same photo, Npatz, and W F Simmons, who was sitting in a white suit in the middle of the group, was the General Manager at the time the photo was taken. 

C S Johnston came to Hong Kong in 1948 to take up position as Chief Engineer and Assistant Manager, and became General Manager in 1950 following the death of W F Simmons, so I can only assume the photo was taken in 1948/1949.

Mr Johnston held that position for 11 years and when he retired, John Salmon took over as General Manager.

The chap sitting on the right of W F Simmons (when looking at the photo) in a dark suit and glasses was a fellow called Hammond (no idea of his first name) and his nickname was Hammy.

The photo below was taken at Hammy's retirement party. 

1949 May 7 Tramways farewell for Hammy
1949 May 7 Tramways.jpg, by Nona

In 1951 Tramways had an opening for an Assistant Traffic Superintendent, a job for which my father applied for and got. That meant that now he was on staff and not only did he get allowances for the house, car and other benefits, he and his family also got paid leave every four years.

He must have been a good friend of my father's because when we were on leave in 1953 & 1957, we used to visit him at his place in Wallington (Surrey). I think he must have died between 1957 and 1961 as we didn't visit him when in England during that leave.

This photo was taken at a Tramways Christmas party in 1950 - I've put names to the people I remember but you might recognise the other staff members there. (I recognise the fellow whose arm is in a sling but cannot, for the life of me, remember his name!)

Tramways Management.jpg
Tramways Management.jpg, by Nona Pio-Ulski



And this photo, during the same party, is one of the management staff and their wives. My mother is seated at the end on the left and my father is standing 2nd from the right.

Management wives.png
Management wives.png, by Nona Pio-Ulski




Hi Nona My grandfather William Hunter Paterson is between Johnston and Payne. My grandmother Elsie Paterson is in front of him. 5th from right.

Oh I am so glad your grandparents were in that photo!  Please feel free to copy it for your own files if you want to laugh

I remember meeting your grandfather when going to see my father in his office! I know my father was very fond of him!

Did they live on Broadwood Road?  I know the Chief Engineer always lived at 4 Broadwood Road.  The Payne family were at 21 Broadwood Road and we lived at 22.  They were fabulous houses with great gardens and now those areas are covered with high rises!  So sad but I guess that is called progress sad



So he started in 1947. For the first few years he lived in broadwood road. My father remembers 2 houses. He thought 2 and 5 but we have a letter addressed to him at number 4. After a couple of years they then moved to tregunter mansions, tregunter path until 1968. My grandfather had an assistant called estelita. Do you remember her at all?

Herbert Williams Hammond, Traffic Superintendent retired in 1949.

Hello Nona,

I've added some names to the Management Christmas Party picture at 359 The Peak. I've tried to upload an edited version and hope it appears!?

I was a schoolboy at the time trying to get some sleep in the house next door!!

Regarding the first picture, ie the one showing all the staff in front of a tram, I think your memory for dates is probably better than mine so my earlier post naming Mr Johnstonne as General Manager and my dad Tom Waller as Chief Engineer was premature and they must have assumed those titles later in 1950 when we, as a family, moved up to the Tramways Peak house from No. 4 Broadwood Rd in Happy Valley.

Best Regards

Frank Waller


I'm sorry, I don't think I ever met her sad

When my father was appointed to the post of Welfare Officer, his office was in Canal Street East, together with the company's GP, Dr Peter Lee.  He was there when I was a kid then teenager, and only moved to an office in the Depot when he was made Traffic Superintendent some time in the 1960s until he retired.  He and my mother left HK in Jan 1974 and settled in Perth, WA.

Canal Road E Tramways building which housed the Welfare & Medical Departments (that I know of) ...

Canal Road E Tramways.jpg

Canal Road E Tramways.jpg, by Nona Pio-Ulski

Hi Frank

Sorry, I haven't seen the photo with more staff names on it that you speak of sad

I know the General Manager lived on the Peak but I didn't know there were more houses belonging to Tramways there!

So good to meet people with a Tramways connection here!   I thought I was the only one laugh

I see from previous correspondence you had with Jill and Brian that you lived in 21 Broadwood Road after the war!  That was where Harold Payne and his family lived in the 1960s - Harold unfortunately died of a heart attack so Mrs Payne and her 2 sons had to return to England. 

We could see #21 from our roof, as this photo shows ...

21 Broadwood Road.jpg

21 Broadwood Road.jpg, by Nona


Thanks for supplying me with Hammy's full name, moddsey!  Much appreciated laugh

This photo was taken at Hammy's house in Wallington - apparently he always served Chinese chow when when he invited mom and dad over for a dinner party!  LOL wink

My mother is in the middle and Hammy is on the right hand side!

MAY 19 Carshalton Hammy.jpg

MAY 19 Carshalton Hammy.jpg, by Nona Pio-Ulski



Hi Nona

Thanks for your message. Actually there was only one building on the Peak, numbers 258 & 259 The Peak, but the two "houses" were basically "semi-detached". I've revisited the site on Google Earth "Street View" and I was amazed to see how it has been developed into either a block of flats or a very rich person's home!

Sorry about my edited party picture - I've yet to figure out how to ensure a posted picture ends up alongside the message text. But it did go into "Images & Photos" which you will find in the Directory at the side of the page.

If you can't see it there please let me know and I'll try again.

Back to houses on Broadwood Road - we lived at No. 21 from 1947 to 1950 before moving down to No. 4.  I will always remember when, as a schoolboy, my brother and I had to walk all the way down to Wongneichong Rd. 5 days a week to take a tram to the city, then a ferry to Kowloon to get on a school bus to KGV, and then repeat the process in reverse to go home after school. Not like today's world where kids get ferried to and from school in nice big airconditioned cars! At least that's what appears to happen here in the UK!

You mentioned Mrs Payne after her husband died. I remember going with my parents when I was a teenager to visit her here in England during one of my father's home leaves. She lived in quite a nice little bungalow somewhere in the south.

There is still another person around today who had a dad in the Tramways at that time - my brother Ken, now 87. He left HK in 1950 to study engineering in the UK and never returned, whereas my own career was mainly in HK with Jardine Matheson and also in other places in Asia and the Middle East.

Best Regards

Frank Waller


Frank. My father as a small child lived in 2 houses in broad wood road. The 2nd of is https://gwulo.com/atom/33907. He thought he lived at nos 2 and 5 but we have a letter addressed to my grandfather at number 4. They lived on that street from 1947 to early 50's. Did the numbering start at the bottom or top if the hill Thanks Neil

Hi Neil

Broadwood Rd. houses numbering started from the bottom after the junction with Link Rd.

The picture you've posted as "No. 4 " was not the number 4. I lived in and I can only assume it was another nearby house in the same road - unless, as I believe, it was re-built at a later date, but definitely not before 1950. Our house was an old style two storey building with a long recessed balcony and with servants quarters on the ground floor. We had to cross the road to get the main garden where my father grew vegetables. 

I've found a picture of Happy Valley in 1966 with a house on the same site which looks different to both yours and mine (as I remember it). I'll try to post it here but if I can't then it should appear in the Directory column on the left of the Gwulo page (under Images & photos - View new).

Another suggestion, if you could tell me your grandfather's surname then I could possibly figure out the date period when he may have lived at number 4. Was he with The Tramways?

Best Regards - Frank

So the first house they stayed in matches your description of balcony etc. They stayed there for less than two years. I have only photos if the ground floor if that building. I will send them to you later. They then moved down hill. That might be number 2 my father remembers then they moved into tregunter mansions. My grandfathers name was william hunter Paterson who was company secretary of the tramways company

Hello again Neal

I've now managed to put that 1966 photo in the Images & Photos section of the Directory (twice by mistake!).

I think your grandfather and family  would probably have lived at no. 4 after us when we moved to the Peak house in 1950.

I do remember him as obviously he was a close colleague of my father.

Best Wishes


Apologies Frank, I got it wrong.  The picture of the house i showed you was his first house from 1947.  He then moved down the street.  I think this is him sitting on the terrace at his second house. Does it look familiar?  Thanks

Broadwood Road??
Broadwood Road??, by Npatz


Sorry Neil - this is not the number 4 Broadwood Road I lived in either! It is of course possible that it was rebuilt after we moved out in 1950, but somehow I doubt it, even though the 1966 photo I posted the other day (of Happy Valley) did show what looked like a slightly different house - on the same site.

In any case, I've now managed to dig out a couple of very old pictures showing the house as it was when we lived there. You will notice that the lower ground floor columns were flat exposed brick, unlike the round circular and plastered columns in your photo.

4 Broadwood Rd., Approx 1949-1950.jpg
4 Broadwood Rd., Approx 1949-1950.jpg, by franwall


My second (rather poor quality) photo shows a small part of the house at the side - also exposed brick and a window with bars

( plus cat & model truck!)

Side of House View - with models!.jpg
Side of House View - with models!.jpg, by franwall


If once again I fail to show these pics with my message then you will find them in the Images & photos section of the directory.

Best Regards  -  Frank

When I posted this photo https://gwulo.com/atom/18034 of a mid- to late 1930s charity bazaar organised by Doris Walker, I wasn't sure if it had been taken at 4 Broadwood Road where the Walkers lived, but the exposed brickwork in the background looks the same as in franwall's photo.

Thanks Frank. I showed the photos to my father. That's the house he stayed after you. He remembers his own father chasing a burglar over the balcony.

4 Broadwood Road was actually on the road - there was a high fence around it in my day but I always thought it looked very dark and gloomy behind the bushes and fence.  Such a shame for what looks like a magnificent house! I'm pretty sure there was a short driveway into the garage, which was built into the house.

21 Broadwood Road was also on the road, with a driveway into a garage that was built into the house as well.

22 Broadwood Road was built on a hill, so there were about 100 stairs to reach the front gate. No burglars ever tried to get into our garden (we had two Alsatians on the grounds) but we had many, many snakes which either got into the house or used to enjoy coiling around the front gate hasp at night (always bamboo snakes).  It was especially upsetting to find one there when coming home after a nice evening out!!  surprise

I remember 4 Broadwood Road had been sold and made into a block of low-rise flats in the early 1970s.  Such a pity but better than all those high-rises I can see on a picture of Broadwood Road today.  sad

This was the view from our house when we lived there.  

our garden.jpg

our garden.jpg, by Nona

Our garden was divided into a lawn with 3 flame of the forest trees and a swing, a hedge of gardenia bushes and a guava tree - which gave it a distinct tropical smell when the guavas were ripe! Then a hedge of hibiscus bushes lined with papaya trees.

On the other side our fah wong (gardener) used to grow whatever vegetables my mother asked him to. I also remember our fah wong used to keep the grass on the lawn short by swishing a long bamboo pole - no lawn mowers in my day! wink  It truly was a patch of paradise when we were living there!




All great photos. My father Harry Rawlings passed away in 1992 and his wife Peggy passed away this year are both photographed. They had a fabulous time in HK. We lived in Tregunter Mansions. I believe the Pattersons also lived there. Philip Rawlings

Hello Philip

Tramways Staff Party - 1950ish.png
Tramways Staff Party - 1950ish.png, by franwall

I remember your parents very well  -  good tennis players! I think your dad was Assistant Company Secretary, mine was the Chief Engineer at the time.

I've posted a couple of photos that might be of interest to you. I took the one on the steps when I was about 15,

Best Regards  -  Frank Waller

11.My parents with the Rawlings.jpg
11.My parents with the Rawlings.jpg, by franwall