After 50 years apart, my wife gets to return to her birthplace – Hong Kong. But how much will have changed, and will we be able to find any traces of the past?
We were fortunate in having plenty of material available from around the time of her birth and early childhood – some old airmail correspondence with the family’s address on it, together with lots of family colour slides taken at that time.
The galleries that follow are a collection of ‘Before and After’ photos – with extracts from those original colour slides from circa 1965, and wherever we’ve managed to track places down, a contrasting view of present-day Hong Kong. I hope you find the results as interesting as we found the journey to obtain them!
General views of Hong Kong and Kowloon
Day trip to Macau
British Military Hospital, Mount Kellett
We knew the British Military Hospital Mount Kellett had been demolished in the 70’s, and a particularly useful site for our research was Gwulo.com, with its old photographs of Hong Kong and its knowledgeable reader comments. From this site, we were able to establish that the foundation stones had been preserved at the nearby Matilda International Hospital (previously the British Naval Hospital) only a few minutes further along Mount Kellett Road. Showing the Gwulo picture of the stones to the present day security guard, he quite happily pointed us towards the memorial on a corner of the building, and overlooking Aberdeen Harbour to the South of the island. A lovely photo opportunity, and the guard seemed particularly interested when we showed him some further photographs of the area in the 1960’s, including one of Deborah as a new born baby.
From the old family slideshows, we were also able to pin down the location from the series of photos taken back in the 60’s. The hospital has now been replaced by apartment blocks, at 14 Mount Kellett Road, although much of the site perimeter wall still remains, and we’ve captured this in a few snapshots.
2 Cassia Road, Yau Yat Chuen
We traveled North a few stops on the MTR to Shek Kip Mei station, and began exploring. We quickly located the right area, and although the buildings have changed over the years the original street layout remains the same. The small rest garden directly opposite the house had also matured somewhat over the years – no longer freshly-planted grassy space, it’s now dominated by a huge tropical tree.
Begonia Road was such a lucky find! I had struggled to locate the 7a bus route on the map, because of course bus routes change over the years. But strolling through the local streets towards Cassia Road, we chanced upon a bus travelling on a clockwise curve. It was enough to make us stop and evaluate the area. The giveaway was the old roof decoration on the buildings opposite, which was still present after all those years!
The surrounding area in Kowloon
We began heading back towards Nathan Road, the main thoroughfare in Kowloon, and soon found another scene from those early slideshows – a recreation ground which we think was originally connected with the Police Sports and Recreation Club.
Most of the old 50’s and 60’s resettlement blocks have been replaced over the years, but there are still some influences from the past…
Further south into Kowloon, Prince Edward Road crosses Nathan Road
The Ritz Carlton Hotel has gone up in the world…
Unwinding on the beach
And finally, back to where it all started…