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The Gin Drinker's Line: Reconstruction of a British colonial defence line in Hong Kong using aerial photo information

Lawrence W.C. Lai (Department of Real Estate and Construction (formerly Surveying), University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
Stephen N.G. Davies (Hong Kong Maritime Museum, Hong Kong, China)
Y.K. Tan (Department of Real Estate and Construction (formerly Surveying), University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
P. Yung (Department of Real Estate and Construction (formerly Surveying), University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)

Property Management

ISSN: 0263-7472

Article publication date: 6 February 2009

825

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide an initial determination of the date of construction, locations and a typology of design of the pill‐boxes of the Gin Drinker's Line constructed by the colonial Hong Kong Government.

Design/methodology/approach

Post‐war aerial photos taken by the Royal Air Force and R.C. Huntings were examined and site visits made to locate and measure the pill‐boxes. Relevant archive materials were consulted to help interpret findings.

Findings

A total of 76 pill‐boxes, most in ruins due to post‐war destruction for obtaining their steel bars, were mapped on a 1:25,000 scale to give a good idea of the nature of the Gin Drinker's Line. The study finds that, of these, 50 have survived. The pill‐boxes predated those built in the UK to anticipate of German landing.

Research limitations/implications

The paper demonstrates how aerial photos can be used for historical research and conservation planning. Though the locations of the pill‐boxes identified are subject to detailed site surveying, the basic pattern of pill‐box distribution has been identified.

Originality/value

This is the first attempt to map the Gin Drinker's Line and classify its pill‐boxes. The findings are useful references for the actual conservation of colonial heritage in Hong Kong as part of China, as well as for further inquiry into the military history of the Second World War.

Keywords

Citation

Lai, L.W.C., Davies, S.N.G., Tan, Y.K. and Yung, P. (2009), "The Gin Drinker's Line: Reconstruction of a British colonial defence line in Hong Kong using aerial photo information", Property Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 16-41. https://doi.org/10.1108/02637470910932656

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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