'I've been interested in local history all my life and this didn't change when I came to Hong Kong. The first thing I saw as the ship came round Lei Mun [battery] was the Tin Hau Temple. Some people on board pointed it out and said it was where I was going to stay. It took 31 days to get here from Southampton on board the passenger ship Canton. It was most enjoyable, although at times we hit very rough seas. It had no stabilisers. Most people came out for a career on permanent and pensionable terms. It was only later that they came on short-term conditions. In 1954, I applied to the Colonial Service for a teaching job in Trinidad and was asked about going to Hong Kong. I knew very little about it then, went away, read up and went back and asked them to please consider me. I lived in Conduit Road, which was then a nice country road. The place where I live now belonged to a family named Mok. It sits on the site of the old Foreign Correspondents' Club. Ours was the first domestic building in Hong Kong with a lift. The road was made up of old houses with tennis courts. I used to walk past and wonder what went on in the old houses. Were there lots of squabbles among the wives? How much mahjong did they play? When I first came to Hong Kong, I taught building technology at what is now the Polytechnic University, the Technical College, and was appointed principal of the Morrison Hill Technical Institute when it opened in 1969. The building boom really started after the Christmas Day fire in 1953 and those Mark I [the earliest housing estates] buildings were hastily thrown up. People had to be housed quickly and even though there were no kitchens and only communal toilets, there was a wonderful atmosphere in those estates. With the Chinese University in 1963 and later the Polytechnic University among others, there have been unbelievable changes in education. In 1971, there was a primary place for every child, and by 1978, the government started phasing in nine years of free compulsory education. In the 1950s and 60s, rooftop schools sprouted on housing estates and there was universal motivation to get children to school. In 1956, I turned out for the riots in Shek Kip Mei as a special constable. To a large extent the riots were political. People were killed in the Nationalist-Communist demonstrations that followed the pulling down of the (Nationalist) flag. In those days service was compulsory for British subjects. If you were in your 20s, you served with the [Hong Kong] Volunteers, in your 30s with the Auxiliary Police. I served out of the Waterfront Police Station. We used to go on beat duty in twos. I enjoyed walking the beat on Circular Path, because of all the little jade and other workshops in what was quite a downish area. It was very interesting. During the 1967 riots [when the Cultural Revolution in China spilled over into Hong Kong], I was vice-principal of the Technical College. Most of the students and teachers remained loyal, even though we had an imitation bomb outside and slogans painted inside. There was still resistance to mixed marriages in the late 50s. My old boss wanted to get rid of me because I was going out with a local. He was asked what my work was like and when he said it was good, he was told he had no grounds to dismiss me. In 1960, many of my colleagues wouldn't come to my wedding. Eurasians get a fair crack now that attitudes have completely changed. The attitude was not one-sided. Vera's father did not want his daughter to marry a gweilo. We met only once and he pointedly walked away. Also, people stared a lot. My interest has always been the changing face of Hong Kong and buildings of special interest. One of the more interesting buildings in Hong Kong is the old Supreme Court (now the Legislative Council). The Star Ferry was in a different location when I came to Hong Kong and it was a pity they pulled the old railway station down. It was opposite the old Peninsula hotel, which was like an old railway tavern in Britain.' Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have interesting memories of days past.