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HSBC Archives

(Image) Courtesy of HSBC Archives


Penguin Show Time!


After penning a letter in English to Santa Claus, it's time for me, aka #Guin, the first person pronoun I use, to further show off my language proficiency. You’ll see me sometimes rattle away in English, Chinglish, Konglish, Japanese or French...one of these days the flaneur Penguin will also be a proud polyglot bird.


With the help of #HSBC Archives Gallery, your curious Penguin found an intriguing old photo taken probably in 1965 in my backyard.


It was the first branch of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (now we all call it HSBC!) in my very own Causeway Bay, which began operations six decades ago in November 1963.


The telephone number of the branch was 770495. Only six digits! Even though Guin am forgetful, Guin can recite the number with no difficulties.


According to internal circular letters dated in 1963, which Guin has access to, thanks to HSBC Archives again, the branch was on 530 to 532 Hennessy Road.


Wait a minute... As Guin waddled to check out the site, Guin made a shocking discovery: there isn't any 530 or 532 on Hennessy Road! The last even number on the Causeway Bay section of Hennessy Road is 502. On the east of Hennessy Road lies Yee Wo Street.


OMG. What? Where exactly was the HSBC Hennessy Road branch back in the 1960s?


Your diligent Penguin decided it is time to seek assistance online. As an experienced researcher, Guin knew oldhkphotos.com is a good place to look for information. Guin cross-checked photos of Hennessy Road also taken in the 1960s and 70s.


Bingo, puzzle resolved! 530 to 532 Hennessy Road in the 1960s is now 502 Hennessy Road, currently the #Goldmark, where Guin can see it from my fine view at Nose in the Books every day.


Another mystery immediately arose, however: why and when did some numbers on Hennessy Road go missing? Guin guess it means Guin have to keep digging. Goodness me.


Alas, the HSBC Causeway Bay branch expansion didn't end here. The bank’s 100th branch, which launched in 1974, was also situated in our beloved neighbourhood, at Hang Lung Centre on Paterson Street. This time, Guin don’t have to crosscheck old photos. The building is still there though the shop space is now occupied by Matsumoto Kiyoshi, which sells cosmetics and skincare products. Though Guin have flawless skin (thanks to good genes), Guin am curious and checked out the store from time to time.


Gotta go solve the second mystery on the missing numbers. Cheers!


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