Stanley Heritage Trail
Hong Kong Island
Many people in Hong Kong, both residents and visitors alike, are surprised to learn that following their capture of the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941, the victorious Japanese authorities had no plans in place with regard to British civilians and their allies in the colony. Following a hiatus of some 3 weeks duration, during which period these civilians were housed in squalid conditions in what were little more than low-class brothels on the Hong Kong island waterfront, they were moved to the more salubrious area of Stanley on the south side of the island.
Here some 3000 men, women and children of various nationalities were housed in what in more peaceful times had been the quarters for the European and Indian warders of the maximum security Stanley Prison, as well as the school buildings and accommodation quarters of Hong Kong’s first boarding school, the prestigious St. Stephen’s College and Preparatory school.
The Stanley peninsula, including the cemetery which dates back to the very early days of the British occupation of Hong Kong in the 1840’s, was also the scene of a bitter last stand between the British and their allied defenders and the invading Japanese forces in December 1941.
Although the area has been greatly developed since that period, many of these buildings which are so much a part of Hong Kong’s heritage still exist. In fact, a heritage trail has been created which incorporates much of this era. During your visit our expert guide will take you on this trail, pointing out the sites where so much of the fighting during the final hours of the 1941 battle occurred, as well as many parts of what became known shortly afterwards as the Stanley Civilian Internment Camp.