Thursday, 19 November 2015

Some pictures of No.2 Devon Road in 1961.

A little over a year ago I republished a blog entry about the original houses that can still be found in Kowloon Tong. You can read about it here: Down in the Tong. I'm very lucky because a very nice person called Kathryn has sent me some photos of one of the houses that is (currently...) still standing.

No. 2 Devon Road is still in fairly decent condition and looks to have had very little done to it over the years, unlike many of the other original buildings that have been extensively remodeled or even worse, just demolished. Here's a picture I took of it a year or so ago - unfortunately, this was the best shot I could get without making people think I was a burglar.

Anyway, here is how the property looked 50 + years ago, all the way back in 1961.

The pictures have been scanned from 50 year old slides (one of several thousand from Kathryn's mum's 1960s Asia trip) and so I've had to guess which way round the house should be. But judging by the current layout with a path from the front gate on the right hand side, I think this should be the right way around. The house next door - #3 Devon Road - can be seen on the right of the picture and was demolished more than 20 years ago to make way for a more modern property.

There are also a few pictures taken inside the house.

The dining room
A party in the living room/lounge
Family dog chilling out

One of the most interesting shots for me though is this one that looks to have been taken from the front upstairs balcony (all the old houses had open balconies).

It's interesting because it is looking over to the area where the Baptist Hospital and Broadcast Drive now stands. Look closely and you will just see hills typical of the type that once covered the whole of Kowloon. Pretty much all of them have been removed for development. The ridge at the back is actually the eastern side of Lion Rock. The two buildings you can see are Cornwall Terrace in the far background (it's still around, see below) and what looks to be either #6 or #8 Dorset Crescent (I'm erring on the side of #8). 

Cornwall Terrace seen from Cornwall Street

Although Cornwall Terrace is still around, the view from Devon Road is now obscured by a profusion of theological institutes built along Dorset Crescent.

Anyway, once again, many thanks to Kathryn for her generous sharing of some very old pictures - although to be honest the quality of the colour on them makes them seem much more recent.


  1. Kathryn Carroll27 April 2017 at 22:12

    Hi! I know it has been about a year and a half since this was posted, but there was a new development in this story. I had direct messaged, on Facebook, the man who had seen the pics and stated it was his home that my family sublet back in November of 2015. Andrew Barrows responded last night. He was very excited about the photos and said, "Dad worked for PanAm and the company will have made the arrangements for your family to stay at the house. The pictures fascinate me because that house was my childhood home for 9 years...ages 5 to 14 for me. It's a big part of my unconscious. Many of the objects seen in the pictures you shared are still with me. The dog's name was Tracy....she was a dear part of our family."

    We went on to discuss some aspects of the arrangement along with a few happy memories. I loved his enthusiasm and great nostalgia. I gave him a few more photos with the promise of restoring some of those that were discolored from the slides I scanned being so old. I also sent word to the part of my family that actually lived at the home in the early 60's asking for more photos and maybe some memories of their time there.

    Anyway, I just wanted to correct some of the info as I have learned a lot in the past year or so on this topic. The house, dog (Tracy) and many of the items were owned by the Barrows family. The one weird item is the strange woman's head statue in one of the photos. I swear my mom has that,still. It could be that she liked the one they owned and got one like it. It certainly has been interesting learning all the info on the house, Kowloon Tong and the surrounding area!

    1. Hi Kathryn, many thanks for the additional information. I'm glad you two managed to get in touch - I still can't believe how amazing the coincidence is. What a great way to connect - over photographs taken over 50 years ago. Please keep me informed of any further developments, and feel free to share anymore photos if you are able to.