Photographing History—Now and Then

15 September 2015

This view of St John’s Cathedral, as seen from Garden Road, illustrates an uneasy place of faith in Hong Kong. A once seclusive church is now dominated by modern skyscrapers, bank logos being hoisted way above the Holy Cross.

What religion rises higher in this never sleeping city? What is worshipped here these days?

St John’s Anglican Cathedral was opened in 1849 and has barely changed since then. It is located on the only freehold in the entire SAR, all other land being leased.

Buildings at the background are HSBC Headquarters (1985, architect Sir Norman Foster) and Standard Chartered Bank Building (1990, P & T Architects & Engineers Ltd). Despite dramatic differences in style, today all the three buildings in this photo surely belong to Hong Kong heritage.

The photo below was taken in 1947 from the same spot (Reproduced from [Pete Spurrier, The Heritage Hiker’s Guide to Hong Kong]):

Reproduced from [Pete Spurrier, The Heritage Hiker’s Guide to Hong Kong]

“The fundamental things apply as time goes by” [Herman Hupfeld].