Large plan of 1930s Hong Kong showing the cyclone scale

[The latest edition of the map of Hong Kong in full detail; with a map of Kowloon; for the use of all purposes].

Asia China
  • Publication place: [Guangzhou
  • Publisher: Sanxing Press
  • Publication date: c1931].
  • Physical description: Chromolithograph plan, inset maps of Kowloon, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and the New Territories, some strengthening to folds, a few old repairs.
  • Dimensions: 355 by 780mm (14 by 30.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 14291


Fine and detailed plan of Victoria, Hong Kong.

The plan stretches west to east from Belcher’s Bay to North Point. All prominent public and private buildings are named and marked, as are tramways, streets, rivers, public telephone boxes, tracks, and the Mount Parker cable car. The Mount Parker Cable Car connected Quarry Gap (between Mount Parker and Mount Butler) and Quarry Bay near present day Yau Man Street. It was built to provide a means of transport for employees of the Swire Group between the staff quarters uphill, and Taikoo Dockyard and Taikoo Sugar Refinery downhill. It operated between 1892 and 1932.

To the lower right is a plan of Guangzhou. To the left is an inset plan of the New Territories marking lighthouses, towns, villages, railways, mountains, and borders. Next to this is a table of the Hong Kong cyclone scale, from 1 to 10, including both daytime symbols, and night-time warning lights. A system of cyclone warnings had been initiated by the Hong Kong Observatory in 1884. By 1917, the system consisted of seven levels, denoting severity, wind direction and proximity to Hong Kong. In 1931, the system was amended to a scale of 1 to 10 – as here – with three new signals added – signals 2 and 3 signifying strong winds from southwest and southeast respectively, and signal 4, a non-local signal meaning that a dangerous typhoon exists but poses no imminent danger to Hong Kong. The four gale signals, renumbered 5 to 8, also had their directions changed to the four quadrants, while the original signals 6 and 7 were renumbered 9 and 10. Signals 2, 3 and 4 were discontinued in the late 1930s. To the upper left is an inset plan of Kowloon, and to the sea are depicted 20 national flags: France, America, China, England, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Siam, Brazil, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, Norway, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Sweden, and Germany; denoting the numerous countries that traded through Hong Kong.

The plan would appear to have been somewhat of a success with later editions appearing throughout the 1930s. A slightly smaller example of around 1939, shows a new cyclone scale, and the number of flags has been reduced from 20 to 17.