Streets of Hong Kong Premium Private Tours--Dispatch #002: Hong Kong in The 1950s as Photographed by Lord Lawrence Kadoorie


Hong Kong industrialist, hotelier and philanthropist Lord Lawrence Kadoorie is known for the prominent role he played in the development of modern Hong Kong. You can read about the Kadoorie family here. In addition to CLP (to whom I eagerly pay my electric bill every three months) and the Peak Tramway,  the Kadoorie family is locally known as the well endowed proprietors of Hong Kong's famous Peninsula Hotel. A regular stop along my Premium Walking Tour of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula, the Peninsula is what I call the final bastion of majestic old colonial Hong Kong.

I recently learned Lord Kadoorie was also an avid amateur photographer and regularly carried a small minox subminiature spy camera (James Bond style) with him as he went about his daily routine.

Lord Kadoorie's Minox

Lord Kadoorie's Minox

To mark its 10th anniversary, the Hong Kong Heritage Project put together a collection of previously unpublished photographs showing Hong Kong life in the 50s taken by Lord Kadoorie. The exhibition, Eye on Hong Kong a Kadoorie Perspective, is located on the second floor of City Hall in Central and unfortunately ends on October 4, 2017.


However, I am including in this Dispatch two images which I found particularly interesting. The first is a picture of one of the star ferries dry docked at the old Whampoa Dock.


The old dockyard is long gone and replaced by the Whampoa Housing Estate. I regularly walk to Whampoa to catch the new MTR extension or to have excellent Japanese sushi.  To my knowledge, all of the Star Ferry vessels currently in operation were built there in the 1950s and 1960s. When you are on the upper level of the Star Ferry, you can look for the oval shaped brass commissioning plate of your particular vessel hanging on the forward wall by the entrance/exit ramp (the forward wall is always facing the bow on the Kowloon side). There you will see the exact date that your vessel was commissioned. I have looked at many old pictures of Hong Kong, but this is the first I have seen of one of the ferries sitting in the dockyard!

The next image is of the Yau Ma Tei Ferry docked in Castle Peak Bay. This is a romantic view of what the coast of the New Territories once looked like. Although there are three junks carrying tourists in Victoria Harbour, you never see them actually under sail. Two of them, Aqua Luna I and II, are replicas built by the last surviving Hong Kong master junk builder, but they are not actually rigged to sail. Sadly, we will never see a big flotilla of junks under sail as seen in this image ever again. And no, there is no longer a Yau Ma Tei Ferry.

Yaumatei Ferry.jpg

Afterwards, I was treated to a delectable dim sum lunch at Maxim's Palace (also located in City Hall) by my very good friend and guide colleague Amy Overy. As you can see Maxim's is a high class eating establishment serving fine dim sum old school style, on tea trolleys pushed by smiling old ladies just like they used to (and still do) serve it at Nom Wah Tea Parlor on the crooked street in New York City's China Town! Amy is treated just like a female taipan by the staff of Maxim's Palace.

Thank you Amy! 


End of Dispatch




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I am an American from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium quality private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

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