European Settlements in the Far East – Part Three, The Peak District and the Peak Tram in HK around 1900

Vaudine England has kindly sent a link to what she describes as a typically 1900-era directory of the European empires in the east. The author was D Warren Smith. Of great interest to us is a rather neat summary of the industries and shipyards at that time. We have already posted Part One – Industries and Part Two – Shipyards, see their links in Related Indhhk articles below.

Third up is a short section on what Warren Smith titles The Peak District. This is of less relevance to HK’s industrial history though it does contain a brief description of the Peak Tram.  Also development of housing on the Peak, plus hotels and a church which I thought might be of interest to those looking for a description of these buildings within this area of Hong Kong at the turn of the 20th century.

To aid reader’s searches I have retyped the relevant pages. Many thanks to SCT for proofreading this.

European Settlements Detail The Peak District

A well-made but rather badly graded mountain road leads up to the summit of Victoria Peak, with numerous other paths branching off from it at Victoria Gap along the adjoining hills. A tramway on the wire-rope system, has been laid to the Victoria Gap, where the stationary engine is fixed, the lower terminus being close to St. John’s Cathedral, and was opened to traffic on the 30th May, 1888. Passengers can alight at the Kennedy, Bowen and Plantation Roads, where platforms are provided for their accommodation. Within the past few years the number of bungalows and houses on and about the Peak has increased so much that they now form quite a considerable alpine village. The Military erected a sanatorium on the heights near Magazine Gap in 1883, and in 1897 acquired the handsome and commodious Mount Austin Hotel for the same purpose. The Peak Church was opened for worship in June, 1883. Comfortable accommodation for visitors is afforded at the Peak Hotel. The road from Victoria Gap westward leads to Victoria Peak, which is 1823 feet above the sea, and rises almost abruptly behind the centre of the city of Victoria. On the summit is placed the flagstaff, from which the approach of the mails and other vessels is signalled. An excellent and well-graded road, commencing on the Bowen road, leads to Magazine Gap, near which a second hill village of foreign residences has been formed, on the southern side of the hills, at an elevation of about 900 feet above the sea.(1)


  1. European settlements in the Far East; China, Japan, Corea, Indo-China, Straits Settlements, Malay States, Siam, Netherlands, India, Borneo, the Philippines, etc., D. Warres Smith, Sampson Low, Marston & Company, London, 1900

This article was first posted on 13th November 2018.

Related Indhhk articles”

  1. European Settlements in the Far East – Part One, Industries in HK around 1900
  2. European Settlements in the Far East – Part Two, Shipyards in HK around 1900
  3. The Peak Tram
  4. The Peak Tram – additional information
  5. Yates and Thom, Blackburn, UK – Makers of the original Peak Tram engines
  6. Proposed second Peak Tram – 1908 – the route and objections
  7. The Peak Tram – How it works
  8. The Peak Tram – the Abt Passing Loop , 1879 invention
  9. Peak Tram: The Ward Leonard System installed 1926
  10. Michael Rogge film 1962 -The Peak Tram, Peak views, Repulse Bay, Central scenes
  11. Peak Tramways – additional locations and alterations
  12. Bus, tram and peak tram conductors
  13. Proposed Tramway linking Victoria and Aberdeen by Peak tunnel, 1906-1910
  14. Chevalier R Pescio – Tunnelling the Peak – proposed tramway 1906-1910


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