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Public Records Office Hong Kong – Pleasure and Leisure: A glimpse of children’s pastimes in Hong Kong
March 22, 2019 @ 8:00 amDecember 31, 2019 @ 5:00 pm HKT
How we enjoyed our leisure time in our childhood are fond memories for grown-ups. Changes in the way we had fun also mirror the changes in our economy and people’s livelihood. As the child population started to grow in the 1950s, the demand for social services and leisure facilities in Hong Kong also increased accordingly. However, Hong Kong was yet to be affluent at that time. Children often made simple playthings out of anything handy. Starting from the 1960s, as more and more resources became available in society, government organizations and voluntary agencies provided more recreational venues and organized a wider variety of activities for children.
Through selected archival records, photographs and audio-visual materials of the Public Records Office (PRO), the exhibition offers a glimpse into the welfare policy from the 1950s to the 1980s. It also features some interesting anecdotes of the organized activities and plays facilities for children in that era. These archival holdings were mainly transferred from the Information Services Department, the then City and New Territories Administration, the Home Affairs Department, and the Social Welfare Department. This exhibition showcases PRO’s holdings relating to childhood games and fun in three sections, i.e. “Popular Children’s Games and Pastimes”, “Fun Places” and “Community Activities”. Apart from arousing the valuable collective memories of interesting anecdotes of children games and fun in those days, the collections also reflect the changes in our economy and people’s livelihood over the years.
About the exhibition
The Public Records Office (PRO) of the Hong Kong Government Records Service is holding the “Pleasure and Leisure: A Glimpse of Children’s Pastimes in Hong Kong” exhibition at the Hong Kong Public Records Building from 25th February to 31st December 2019 to showcase how children’s pastimes in Hong Kong evolved from the 1950s to the 1980s through the display of a variety of the PRO’s holdings. Apart from reliving childhood moments, one can also learn more about the transformation of Hong Kong’s society and livelihoods in those years.
The historical photographs, audio-visual materials and government archival records on display in the exhibition document how children spent their leisure time in the old days, as well as how toys and games, recreational facilities and community activities catering for children evolved over the decades.
The variety of the exhibits is enriched by the Hong Kong Museum of History and local toy collectors Mr. Chong Hing-fai, Mr. Ricky Lau and Mr. Eddie Yuen, who generously allowed their precious toy collections to be displayed in turn during the exhibition period. While immersing in childhood joy, visitors will also be able to understand more about the different facets of Hong Kong’s society and people’s lives in those days.
The PRO has for the first time combined an exhibition with two public engagement programmes, namely “Childlike Innocence on Camera” and “Share the Joy”, inviting members of the public to contribute photographs taken from the 1950s to the 1980s that depict their childhood play times and contribute plastic or metallic toys popular at any time during the same period. Selected photographs and toys contributed by the public will be uploaded to the exhibition’s dedicated webpage and displayed in the Exhibition Hall respectively, thereby completing the exhibition as a collage of fond memories of fun childhood times unique to each and every person.
One of the PRO’s photographic holdings, taken in the 1970s and featuring children playing with Chinese billiards borrowed from a mobile library.
The dedicated webpage for the exhibition contains reference resources, details of the aforementioned public engagement programmes and information on the upcoming roving exhibitions and talks under the same theme which will be held from April to December at various Hong Kong Public Libraries of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Members of the public are welcome to view some 200 photographs from archival holdings which depict interesting moments of childhood play in the old days in the “Image Gallery” section of the webpage.
The exhibition is located at Exhibition Hall, 2/F, Hong Kong Public Records Building, 13 Tsui Ping Road, Kwun Tong. Opening hours are from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5.45 pm (closed on public holidays). Admission is free.