A weekly look through the archives at how the century progressed December 13, 1933: In a rare double wedding, Ivy Kan and Doris Li - both daughters of prominent banking families - married the twin sons (Ping-fan and Ping-wah) of the late Fung Ping-shan - who was also a Bank of East Asia director. As one of the brides recalled, it was 'the grandest wedding of the century' - with a reception of more than 1,000 guests, held on three floors of the China Emporium. October 17, 1935: The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank opened - as Hong Kong's first high-rise. The granite-faced building had been inspired by the work of Chicago architects. It was designed in art deco style - with spots of Egyptian, Chinese and Japanese motifs for good Oriental measure. The building - together with the company's substantial financial deposits - inspired the public relations department to come up with the slogan: 'the best bank in the world'. This was also the first office building with central air-conditioning in Hong Kong. November 1935: Hong Kong went off the silver standard. The Government intervened in the currency market to stabilise the value of the currency - and from $10 to the pound, the dollar value dropped by half through the following year. To balance the budget, civil servants had salary cuts of up to 20 per cent: hardly a popular measure. July 7, 1937: There was fierce fighting at Fengtai in China after the Chinese refused to lease land to the Japanese to build an aerodrome. In what was later called The Lugouqiao Incident the town of that name was shelled and Chinese troops and civilians suffered heavy casualties, although only 10 Japanese soldiers died. The fighting touched off China's nationwide war of resistance against Japan. Many men of letters moved to Hong Kong, which became a wartime cultural centre. October 21, 1938: 'Canton falls to Japanese. Troops Occupy Suburbs. Chinese Destroy City before Leaving.' Those were the headlines in Hong Kong as the Japanese forces swept southward. The population was shocked, the South China Morning Post reported, particularly because 'earlier news had it that the Hankow government was sending 120,000 Cantonese and 30,000 of Marshal Chiang Kai-shek's own troops to defend Hong Kong'. October 1939: The stress of imminent war took its toll on the population: daily sales of opium reached a record 1,000 taels (1,500 oz) - in comparison to the same amounts monthly only three years before. August 1940: The governor - Geoffrey Northcote - fell ill. His deputy, Colonial Secretary N L Smith, was seen as unable to deal with the Japanese threat. The commander-in-chief of the China station sent a cable to the Admiralty stating that 'there is grave danger to colony of Hong Kong if the present acting governor remains in office. He lacks decision and drive and things are muddling along. If Colonial Office cannot spare a first-class man in very near future, we recommend a military governor be appointed and that a senior soldier should be sent from India.' The Admiralty listened: their 'first-class man' was Major-General C F Norton, whose main test of leadership had been to lead an expedition to climb Mount Everest in 1924. Seven months later Northcote returned - to pack up and leave the post open for Hong Kong's shortest serving governor, Sir Mark Young.