Historic Hong Kong

History & Heritage
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Throughout its history, Hong Kong has been a place of ever-changing contours and skylines as well as home to a great variety of people. Here we present columns, photo galleries and stories about people who've lived in and helped shape Hong Kong, buildings preserved and long vanished, historical events, the city's changing culture and how the past shapes the present.

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Converted from Cunard’s transatlantic luxury passenger ship the Queen Elizabeth, Seawise University was to become a floating tertiary institution in Hong Kong until it caught fire in 1972.
Portugal has maintained an allure for Far Eastern retirees since the 1940s with its low cost of living, sunny climate and echoes of long weekend sojourns in Macau.
Official narratives that aim to wipe out collective memory have a way of unravelling, and it is the job of historians to preserve different versions of the past for future generations.
From Hong Kong’s mid-19th century urban beginnings, chronic boredom among long-term residents who felt trapped here was well-documented in diaries, letters and published memoirs.
‘Bongbong’ Marcos rode to power in the Philippines on a wave of nostalgia for his father Ferdinand Marcos’ kleptocratic rule. Might Hong Kong one day feel nostalgic for Carrie Lam’s time as chief executive?
The means may have evolved along with the city but Hong Kong’s unforgiving climate has long seen individuals taking the ultimate step to end it all.
Hong Kong was well positioned in the 1950s to make the most of the cement and floor-tile revolutions, both at home and as an export.
Stationed overseas for years, many Nepalese Gurkhas found love in the arms of Filipino domestic workers, seizing the rare opportunity to pick a companion of their own choosing.
British servicemen in Hong Kong often started relationships with bar girls or prostitutes, putting them up in subdivided flats in the city. A number of these relationships led to happy marriages.
Once a vibrant, cosmopolitan, world-class city second only to London in commercial importance, Calcutta (now Kolkata) provides a bleak template for the Hong Kong of tomorrow.
Despite assurances, history shows ‘foreign’ residents are briskly discarded when their presence appears more nuisance than benefit – just look at Indonesia.
Since then-US secretary of state Madeleine Albright’s 1997 speech lauding Hong Kong’s freedom, accountability and principles, so much has changed that Hong Kong is a totally different place.
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