20 January 2009

Hong Kong: Then and Now

A friend of mine has found an interesting collection of photos showing Hong Kong has looked like in the past and today. Most of the older pictures are in the 60s or 70s, but some could have been older (pre-war?).

Was the tallest building back then, but now the shortest.
This is at the intersection of Johnston Road (莊士敦道) and Hennessy Road (軒尼詩道).

Same building but photo taken at a different time.

Intersection of Queens Road Central (皇后大道中) and Wyndham Street (雲咸街) in Central District. Where's the hill?!

The mural in San Po Kong (新蒲崗) area is still there, but more than half of it is blocked by another building.

The Da Da department store in Prince Edward (太子) has now become a mall.

I didn't know there was water and a pier in Sham Shui Po (深水埗) back then! o_o
Well that actually makes sense as Sham Shui Po means "Deep Water Pier". Today it is one of the poorest districts in Hong Kong.

The historic Kowloon Walled City (九龍城寨) is no longer present, but its legacy and stories remain.

St. Teresa's Church on Prince Edward Road (太子道).

Tai Po Market Station, now the Hong Kong Railway Museum. Admission to the museum is free.

Intersection of Nathan Road (彌敦道) and Shantung Street (山東街).

Carnarvon Road (加拿芬道) in Tsim Sa Tsui. Most buildings have changed, and the view of the hills is gone, but one little building in the middle of the picture stands strong against the age of time (oddly enough).

The Cenotaph for commemorating the fallen ones of the two World Wars. Notice how close the water used to be back then.

Des Voeux Road Central in Central District. The tram lines remain, but everything else changed.

Kennedy Town. The two tall objects on the right are two chimnies of the local incineration plant. The photos here show the construction and demolition of the chimnies.

Another good example of land reclamation. The then Hoi Sham Island (海心島) is connected to the To Kwa Wan area (土瓜灣), and has become part of the Hoi Sham Park (海心公園).

Another one where the hill is no longer viewable. This one is Fenwick Street (分域街) in Wan Chai.

Prince Edward Road again. Notice how the distant St. Teresa's Church is no longer visible today.

Trees... And now buildings.
The bustling Nathan Road (彌敦道) used to be like this many, many moons ago o_o

Intersection of Johnston Road (莊士敦道) and Wan Chai Road (灣仔道). The tallest building in the past is now is now the shortest of all.

It's breathtaking to see how much Hong Kong has changed in the last century. If I were to get warped in time, I would have been freaked out! Buildings grow like plants, and a lot of land has been reclamed for urban development. It is sometimes a pity to see some of the old things fading away, yet interesting to see how some of the structures remain to this day. I wonder how time will further transform these places in the future? :o

All photos are from HK Man on Flickr. You can check his full collection here


  1. Great collection of pictures here. Lots of water being lost there. I wonder if the city can sink someday from a major earthquake *knock on wood*. They say the same thing here for Richmond, BC.

    Hmm interesting to hear about Kowloon. I first heard about it from Street Fighter II V anime series. Good to see it's been changed from what it used to be.

  2. I love looking at old pictures of cities.My father still has alot old pictures of my hometown and its crazy how a city can change in a mere 100 years.

    Who knows how HK will look in 50 years?

  3. @ Lightning Sabre:
    A lot of the reclamation projects were carried out over 100 years ago, and since Hong Kong is quite far away from tectonic plates, there is no big danger of it collapsing compared to normal landfilled sites.

    @ Blowfish:
    It's scary how much a city changes within just 50 years or less! It will be nice to see some comparison of now and past of your hometown~

  4. Sigh, you can see nature being replaced by buildings, etc. A nice comparision, anyhow. I lived in HK for the first eight years of life. That was a long time ago XD.

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  6. @ M12:
    It is a pity seeing the spaces and some of the nature/water going. Perhaps this is what makes Hong Kong a more stressful place than it used to be in some ways.

    So you did live in Hong Kong when you're young, eh? It must have been very different if you are to come back again! :D

    @ Hapi:
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  7. nice. will love to visit hong kong some day. maybe even troop there. ^^;

    last year the local 501st is thinking of going hong kong for a holiday but didn't work out as everyone is busy. :(

  8. @ gordon:
    I'm sure you will get to visit Hong Kong one day, and even possibly with your fellow troopers. Haha would be nice to see you trooping there too!

  9. It's strange how every view apart from the Kowloon City one involves huge growth and development over time. Not to say that the demolition of the city of darkness was a bad thing, but the street in the picture seems much emptier now!

  10. @ Anonymous:
    Many areas of Hong Kong have changed drastically over the years, especially the commercial districts. Sometimes I felt that those that managed to stay unscathed are pretty lucky by this stage as the government is constantly planning to demolish old buildings now.

    As for why the streets seem empty, I think that the photographer has managed to take them at odd hours, as it's pretty unusual to see Nathan Road empty like that!

  11. Thanks for posting. The one with Da Da brings back memories growing up in HK in the 80s ....

  12. Take another look at comparisons 2 & 3. They're not the same building.

    1. Thanks for visiting Nick! The building in question, the Chinese Methodist Church, was first built in 1936, and it had a 4-year reconstruction from 1994 to 1998 for expansion and renovation. It may not look the same, but it's still the same building!


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