Queries + Answers 25 to 32 revisited – further research needed – Green Spot anyone?

Our first Queries + Answers was posted on 7th February 2013.

Here are the Q+A 25 to 32 with subsequently posted Indhhk Group articles below which are relevant to the subject but may not answer the original query.

If you can help add information about any of the queries I would be delighted to hear from you. Hugh Farmer indhhk at gmail dot com or just leave a comment beneath any article.

Q+A 25 To Kwa Wan Foundry – WW2 BAAG report. Elizabeth Ride has sent this British Army Aid Group (BAAG) group report.

Any information about this foundry would be very helpful. The report suggests it was part of or close to  a shipbuilder/repairer through its casting parts of marine engines.

No further information has been forthcoming

Q+A 26 Tsing Shan Mine (Castle Peak area)? – Japanese occupation, WW2 This British Army Aid Group report  of 1944, mentions a “rumour” of a mine on or near Castle Peak. Tsing Shan is the name of the well-known monastery located at the eastern foot of the mountain.

I have not come across a mine in this area. However the map below shows four abandoned mines (green squares) and four Former Prospects in the Castle Peak area.

Any information about any of these mines or prospects would be welcomed especially that which confirms the BAAG report.

KWIZ#72 27.10.44

We have not received any information directly related to a Tsing Shan/Castle peak mine. However HF and Matthew Chiu both contributed to this article Kwong Shan Tsuen Mine – Castle Peak

Q+A 27 Green Spot – popular 1950s soft drink – To Kwa Wan/Aberdeen factory? 

There was an initial flurry of interest, seen below, in Green Spot when the Q+A was first posted but little has been added since then.

Lawrence Tsui: I remember a soft drink production company in the early 50s in the To Kwa Wan area where one could watch the production line from the street through a huge window. I think it was the Green Spot factory. It was quite an entertainment for a small kid.

Linda Kernan’s article, The Vitasoy Story, includes “when the [Vitasoy] Aberdeen factory opened in 1950 it was used for bottling of Greenspot orangeade while Vitasoy remained in the Causeway Bay factory.”

York Lo adds: Here is what I gathered from multiple sources – Green Spot was founded in California in 1934, by the late 1930s it was already bottled in Shanghai, (the licensee was Lau Bong, who was also involved in Camelpaint).
In HK – Vitasoy obtained the rights to bottle it in 1950 as the article you cited implied but by 1958 the rights were passed on to Amoy Canning. It is unclear why/how Vitasoy gave up on Green Spot but by 1956 they already started bottling Pepsi and Amoy also got the rights to Green Spot in Singapore and Malaysia.

Thousands upon thousands of Hong Kong children and adults must have drunk the orangeade.

Can you add to what Lawrence, Linda and York tells us…?

Q + A 28 Village Vehicles (VVs) – made where?

Vicky Chan, Lamma resident, asks where Village Vehicles, more usually known as VVs (though there are apparently VWs) are made. She suggests they are so simple in design that the answer must be somewhere in Hong Kong. Is she right? And if so where exactly?

IDJ offers some clues in the article below.


Village Vehicles (VVs) – made where?

Q+A 29 The Parrott Building, built in HK, re-constructed in San Francisco? 

David Williams has been in touch:

I am a writer interested in building stone. I have been researching the Parrott Building in San Francisco. Built in 1852, it was one of the first stone buildings in the city. I know that the builders of the building were Chinese and have read that the stone came from Hong Kong. One source says that the building was built in Hong Kong, dismantled and then sent to San Francisco.

I believe that the stone for the Parrott block was acquired by Bernard Peyton through the firm of Jardine, Matheson and Co. The stone that was acquired was then put on the barque Dragon, which arrived in San Francisco on August 4, 1852. I think it took 52 or 54 days to cross the ocean, which means it left Hong Kong around June 14 or so.

I was wondering if you had heard of the Parrott Block and might have any insights into granite quarries in Hong Kong in the 1850s. Could the building have been erected in Hong Kong and then taken apart and shipped to San Francisco?

Photograph of Parrott Block – Date Unknown (Prior to 1906) Courtesy of UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library

Hugh Farmer: The building was built (in San Fancisco) in 1852 and demolished in 1926. If you can help David please add a comment to this article,

Q+A 30 Mystery industrial building on Tsing Yi – paint factory? Our article, Hong Kong Paint manufacturing companies – from early 1930s, includes a possible paint factory on Tsing Yi island. Billy Clarke wrote to the Indhhk Group in May 2015 asking if we had any information about this location and what was manufactured there. He linked a HK Urbex series of photos and a video, (taken, I think, in June 2014), of a number of buildings at the site which he had found on the hongwrong.com website. The short answer to Billy’s question is no.

sing Yi Paint Factory Courtesy: HK Urbex

Billy added in October 2015 that he had still not found anything else out about what is proving to be something of an industrial mystery. He proposes making a video at the location in the near future.

As you will see from the HK Urbex link this was a sizeable operation with a number of buildings.

Was this actually a Paint Factory? And if so what was the company? If not…?

HK Urbex Tsing Yi Paint Factory

Q+A 31 Telephone Companies in Hong Kong – information wanted pre WW2 HF: An important subject which we have not covered in sufficient detail yet. Post-WW2 would alao be a very useful addition to our Group’s website.

Can you help fill out this minimalistic skeleton up to 1931? In true wikipedia-style verification is needed…

1877 The telephone was introduced in Hong Kong one year after Alexander Graham Bell patented his invention

1882 The first manual telephone exchange was opened by the Oriental Telephone and Electric Company (東方電話電力公司)

unknown date: the Oriental Telephone and Electric Company was later renamed the China and Japan Telephone and Electric Company (中日電話電力公司)

China & Japan Telephone Co Ltd List Of Subscribers C China Mail 4.10.1891

China & Japan Telephone Co Ltd List Of Subscribers A China Mail 4.10.1891

Q+A 32 Bireley’s Bottling Plant – 1950s Mok Cheong Street, Mau Tau Wai

HF: Our article, American Marine Ltd boatyard, Junk Bay, includes: “More than 50 years ago, on Mok Cheong Street [Ma Tau Wai/To Kwa Wan] next to Eastern Cotton Mills, was a soft drink bottling plant managed by the founder of American Marine, Robert Newton. In the 1950s, Robert Newton already in his late 50s, an age when many people start to think about retirement, …decided to start a boat building venture at his bottling plant’s parking lot…”

Thomas Sposato has sent this Shing Kong Facebook link. In the text accompanying this photo Shing Kong says: “All I can find is this picture of my father in a Bireley’s delivery truck that belonged to the bottling company Robert Newton owned and managed.”

Can anyone tell us more about Bireley’s bottling plant in Mak Cheong Street? I think the soft drinks company may have been started in Califormia by Frank W Bireley in the 1920s.

I would be delighted to hear from Shing Kong himself or Robert Newton or his relatives.

Bireley's Bottling Company , Shing Kong's Father In A Delvery Truck, No Date, No Location

Bireley’s bottling company , Shing Kong’s father in a delvery truck, Unknown date or location,

This article was first posted on XXXX.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Queries + Answers 1 to 8 revisited – further research needed
  2. Queries + Answers 9 to 16 revisited – further research needed
  3. Queries + Answers 17 to 24 revisited – further research needed

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