The first postcard was invented in 1869. In the late 19th Century, pictorial postcards began to gain in popularity in Hong Kong, and were particularly sought after among tourists, seamen, soldiers, and businessmen. The earliest postcards in Hong Kong were printed in monotone using stone lithography. Beginning from the 1900s, painted and colour-printed postcards began to emerge; postcards fashioned from private photographic works also gained in popularity. After World War I, printers mass-produced postcards of various themes, which included landscape, social life, and portraiture. Postcards become more than a souvenir and tool that bear local colours and deliver the sender’s message, but a kaleidoscopic pictorial record for the posterity that documents the urban and social landscape of Hong Kong in its old days.

The “Hong Kong Historic Postcards Collection” displays part of the postcards collected by researcher of local history Mr. Ko Tim-keung. They show in 8 themes the various facets of Hong Kong from the late 19th Century to the 1930s, including stylized architecture, docks, wharfs, military installations and customs. Through the visual portal of these postcards readers may find themselves transported back to the olden days to witness the historic changes of Hong Kong.