Lighthouses of Hong Kong
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History of Hong Kong Lighthouses

In Hong Kong there was little sea traffic going to China before the First Opium War (1839-42). The western mercantile community foresaw the need to erect lighthouses in Hong Kong by the early 1870s. As early as 1867 Commander Reed, a British naval surveyor, considered the three most suitable sites to be, 1. Waglan Island, off the south-eastern extremity of Hong Kong, 2. The North-East head of Lema Island, and 3. Gap Rock, 26 miles southward of Hong Kong. 

Map in 1873 showing position of Hong Kong & the islands on which it is proposed to place lighthouses. 

Canton (Guangzhou) was a city where limited foreign trade was permitted and only under stringent conditions. There are, however, records of a primitive lighthouse situated near Canton from 1891-1905.

In 1888, after detailed discussions and negotiations, agreement was reached between Britain and China for lighthouses to be built on the two best sites originally chosen to light the approaches to Hong Kong harbour – namely on Gap Rock (Wen-wei Chou) and Waglan Island. At the time, the agreement stipulated that these two small islands were not to be used for any other purpose and they were to remain as Chinese territory.

A lighthouse was built on Gap Rock (Wen-wei Chou) with lighting equipment manufactured in Sweden. The light was 142 feet above mean sea level. It came into operation in 1892. Three years later the lantern was smashed by a severe storm. 

Gap Rock Lighthouse