Hong Kong after Belcher and Collinson
By BELCHER, Admiral Sir Edward and COLLINSON, Lieutenant R.E. , 1872

Hong Kong.

Asia China
  • Author: BELCHER, Admiral Sir Edward and COLLINSON, Lieutenant R.E.
  • Publication date: 1879
  • Physical description: Lithographed chart.
  • Dimensions: 144 by 212mm. (5.75 by 8.25 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 14368


A chart of Hong Kong drawn after Capt. Sir Edward Belcher’s important survey of 1841, the first British survey of Hong Kong harbour; and the land survey by Lt. Collinson R.E. (Lt. Richard Collinson’s brother) of 1846.

The chart shows the whole of Hong Kong island, the Kowloon peninsula, part of the adjacent island of Lan Tao, Peng Chau, Hei Ling Chau, Lamma, Sheung Sze Mun, Po Toi and Tung Lung Chau.

The British Hydrographic Office was founded in 1795 by George III, who appointed Alexander Dalrymple as the first Hydrographer to the Admiralty. The first charts were produced in 1800. Unlike the U.S. Coast Survey, the Hydrographic Office was given permission to sell charts to the public and they produced a great number of sea charts covering every corner of the globe. Most of the Admiralty charts produced by the Hydrographic Office delineated coastline as well as high and low water marks and record depth of water as established by soundings. In addition, these charts included information on shoals, reefs, and other navigational hazards that plagued mariners across the world. Thanks to the innovations of Sir Francis Beaufort, who developed the Beaufort Scale of wind strength, the British Hydrographic Office became one of the leading producers of sea charts.

Sir Edward Belcher (1799-1877) was a surveyor for the Hydrographic office, and published his Narrative of a Voyage round the World performed in HMS Sulphur during the years 1836-1842 after his involvement in the First China War and the capture of Hong Kong. He rose steadily through the officer class and became admiral in 1872.

Collinson’s survey (1842-1846) was the first complete scientific survey of the Chinese coast, and his work would become the template for all subsequent charts.