Event Detail


Hong Kong's History Seen through its Historic Photos: David Bellis Farewell Gala Evening

David Bellis
Wednesday, 12 Jun 2024
6.30 pm Meet the Speaker with Drinks and Cocktails at the Cocktail Lounge ; 7.30 pm Talk and photo presentation; 8.15 pm Further Drinks; 8.30 Q&A
The Function Room, Ladies Recreation Club. 10 Old Peak Road

RGS-HK is delighted to host a Farewell Gala Evening for David Bellis, one of our most prolific and best-loved speakers, before he leaves to move to Wales following over 30 years in Hong Kong.

In his talk, David Bellis presents a selection of photographs from his matchless collection, showing the audience a Hong Kong that has long since disappeared. He illustrates the photos with fascinating stories of Hong Kong’s past.  Most of the photos were taken around 1900-1930, though there are views right from the 1880s up to the 1960s.
The photos and stories are presented in four groups.  The first group ask the questions Who?, What?, When? & Where?, and then shows the photo's hidden clues to provide the answers.  This includes some fascinating views of major events in Hong Kong, but also rare scenes people are unlikely to have seen before.  Next, he peeps into a family's album from the 1900s, followed by a look at Hong Kong's styles over the years.  Each photo's details leads on to a series of stories about old Hong Kong and the people who lived here.
David finishes with some of Hong Kong's most frequently photographed scenes, such as the views from Victoria Harbour and Victoria Peak.  He uses historic photos to show them in a different light, heading back to the 1880s to begin, then uses a sequence of photos to show the dramatic changes Hong Kong has been through.
All the photos have been scanned at high-resolution and digitally restored allowing his to show the photos' hidden details and reveal their secrets.
David Bellis runs the popular local history website, Gwulo.com.  It hosts over 50,000 pages about old Hong Kong, including over 30,000 photos. 
Originally from the United Kingdom, David first visited Hong Kong in 1989, and has lived here since 1992.  He has a BSc in Computer Science and Cybernetics from Reading University, and initially worked in the software industry.  He now spends his time on history projects, though his software background helps when developing the Gwulo website.
In 2014, David won the SCMP's Heritage Preservation Award, one of its "The Spirit of Hong Kong Awards", for his work on Gwulo.com.  More recently he has published five collections of photos and stories about old Hong Kong, Old Hong Kong Photos and The Tales They Tell. The fifth and final volume in the series was published in December 2023.

Members of the RGS-HK, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$250 for RGS Members and HK$300 for guests and others, including free-flow drinks. 

The opinions expressed in this talk are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of the Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong.

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