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EARLY HONG KONG'S KOWLOON PENINSULA
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19 Dec 2007 - 15 Apr 2008

In the past few years, the University Museum and Art Gallery has collaborated with Mr Cheng Po Hung on several exhibitions focusing on the history of Hong Kong, which mainly dealt with the history of Hong Kong Island. This exhibition focuses on the history of the Kowloon Peninsula. Many people are familiar with the tram services provided on Hong Kong Island, but do not know that in 1897 the Hong Kong government passed a tramway ordinance authorizing the Kowloon Godown to construct a tramway for transporting cargo in Kowloon. In the early 1910s, the Hong Kong Tramways Limited requested permission from the government to establish tramlines to carry passengers in Kowloon but this proposal was finally rejected, hence the Kowloon tramway was never built. This exhibition features over seventy photographs, focusing on the areas through which the proposed tramways were to be constructed. This includes the parts of Kowloon that were owned by the Colonial Government, such as Tsim Sha Tsui, Yau Ma Tei, Ho Man Tin, Mong Kok and Tai Kok Tsui, as well as those owned by the Chinese Government (later renamed the New Territories), such as Sham Shui Po, Cheung Sha Wan, Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon City, To Kwa Wan and Hung Hom. Also included in the exhibition are images of then undeveloped areas such as Ngau Chi Wan, Wong Tai Sin, Ngau Tau Kok, Kwun Tong, Yau Tong, Lei Yue Mun, Tiu Keng Leng, and the new town of Tseung Kwan O.

In the early days, Kowloon was divided into "British Kowloon" which referred to an area south of Boundary Street, ceded to the British in accordance with the Convention of Peking in 1861 and "Chinese Kowloon"(later known as the New Territories), the area from Boundary Street to the Shenzhen River, which was leased to the British in 1898. Today, the boundaries of the Kowloon Peninsula extend from Tseung Kwan O in the east to Lai Chi Kok in the west, Tsim Sha Tsui in the south to Lion Rock, Tate's Cairn, and Fei Ngo Shan in the north, which links to the New Territories. It is one of the three major regions of Hong Kong.

Over the past hundred years, Kowloon has played an important role in Hong Kong's economic, transport, and social developments. In Sham Shui Po, Tai Kok Tsui, and Cheung Sha Wan, many factories producing textiles, clothing and ironware were built contributing enormously to the industrial development of Hong Kong in the 1970s. The Canton-Hong Kong Railway which terminated in Tsim Sha Tsui, and the Kai Tak Airport completed in 1931 in Kowloon City, facilitated the development of both trade and tourism. At the foothill of Lion Rock, the public housing estates of Wong Tai Sin were home to typical working class of Hong Kong families in the 1950s. Through the photographs from the collection of Mr Cheng Po Hung, viewers can witness changes in the Kowloon Peninsula over the last hundred years.

To coincide with the exhibition, Mr Cheng Po Hung will give the following talks in Cantonese, "The British Kowloon, south of Boundary Street" (Saturday 26 January) and "The New Kowloon, north of Boundary Street" (Saturday 2 February) at 3:00 pm. The talks will take place in the Museum and are free and open to the public.

 

Nathan Road near Haiphong Road, c. 1935.

The Dairy Farm Ice and Cold Storage Co. (left) is now the site of Manson House.


Nathan Road, c. 1965.

The building to the left of the Royal Theatre is now the Pioneer Centre.

The site of the Princess Theatre behind the traffic pagoda is present-day Allied Plaza.

 

Shanghai Street looking north from Nanking Street, Yau Ma Tei, c. 1960.


(Photo courtesy of Mr Cheng Po Hung)

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