In the early years of the 19th Century the British had a trade imbalance with China. They imported large amounts of Chinese tea, silk and porcelain, while only exporting to China small quantities of high value luxury goods. This shortfall in the trade balance was made up with opium exported directly from British India to China. In 1839 the Chinese authorities objected to this trade in opium which resulted in the First Opium War. The British military success in this war led to the Chinese ceding the Island of Hong Kong (together with Green Island and Ap Lei Chau) to the British Crown on 20th January 1841. The British occupation of Hong Kong Island was formalised in the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 which saw the conclusion of the First Opium War.
The British primarily used Hong Kong Island as a port for trade with China but the military moved in to protect British interests.
Chinese attempts to stop the import of opium persisted and led to the Second Opium War between 1856 to 1860 that resulted in the Convention of Beijing. This Treaty saw the ceding of most of the Kowloon Peninsular (up to Boundary Road) to the British, thus improving the security of the harbour area for the British.
In July 1898 the British and Chinese finalised the Lease of the New Territories for 100 years. This saw the British take control of the whole of the Kowloon Peninsular and the mainland up to the Shenzhen River. Many of the villagers living int he New Territories objected to the lease, and the British had to use the military to subdues this minor resistance.
10-inch BL Guns in Hong Kong
10-inch Breech Loading (BL) guns were mounted at four batteries in Hong Kong during the 1880s. An example of one of these 10-inch B.L. guns can be seen at the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence.
Two of the Hong Kong Batteries had the 10-inch BL gun(d) co-located with 6-inch BL gun(s) on a disappearing (HP) mount. The 10-inch guns were located at the following batteries:
The British Coastal Defence Batteries built in Hong Kong.
Victoria Harbour lies between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. There is a west and east entrance to the Harbour, each of which were protected by fixed defences. The anchorage itself was covered by additional coastal defence batteries.
- West Battery completed 1890 with two 10-inch, two 6-inch and one 6-pdr QF guns.
- South Shore Battery completed 1889 with three 64-pdr RML, two 6-pdr Hotchkiss QF guns and three Gardiner Machineguns.
- Central Battery completed 1886 with one 10-inch BL and one 6-inch BL guns.
- East Battery completed in 1881 with a single 8-inch RML howitzer and two 9-inch RML.
- Centurion Battery completed 1905 arm ed with two 12-pdr QF guns.
- Albion Battery completed 1904 with two 12-pdr QF guns.
Western, Hong Kong Island
- Beltchers Battery completed 1890 with three 6-inch BL guns in HP positions and two 6-pdr QG guns. Split between an Upper Beltchers Battery and Lower Beltchers Battery.
- Fly Point Battery completed in 1890 with a single 10-inch BL gun.
- Elliot battery completed in about 1900 with two 12-pdr QF guns.
- Ouchterlony Battery, Sai Ying Poon, an early smooth bore battery decommissioned about 1865.
- West Point Battery, an earlier smoothbore battery decommissioned in about 1865.
- Possession Point Battery, an earlier smoothbore battery with two 8-inch Howitzers in the 1850s.
- Victoria Battery completed 1890 with a single 9.2-inch gun.
- Mount Davis Battery completed about 1909 with positions for five 9.2-inch guns.
- Pinewood Battery completed in 1905 with two 6-inch BL guns.
- Murray Battery and early 24-pdr smoothbore gun battery upgraded to a single 64-pdr RML.
- Royal Battery completed in 1846 with smooth bore guns.
- Wellington Battery, an early 32-pdr smooth bore battery. Area later used for the Submarine Mining Establishment.
- Kellet Island Battery, early smooth bore battery.
- North Point Battery completed in 1879 with two 9-inch RML guns. Later two 7-inch RML added.
Lei Yue Mun
- Lei Yue Mun Howitzer Battery completed in 1897 with two 8-inch RML howitzers.
- Lei Yue Mun Redoubt completed in about 1887 with two 6-inch BL Mark IV guns in HP mount.
- Lei Yue Mun Central Battery completed in 1887 with two 64-pdr Mark III, RML guns
- Lei Yue Mun West Battery completed in 1887 with two 9-inch RML guns.
- Lei Yue Mun Pass QF Battery completed in 1892 with two 6-pdr Hotchkiss QF guns.
- Lei Yue Mun Battery completed in 1887 with three 9-inch RML guns.
- Lei Yue Mun Q.F. Battery, completed about 1915 with two 12-pdr QF guns.
- Sai Wan Hill Battery completed about 1904 with two 6-inch BL guns.
- Pak Sha Wan Battery completed in 1903 with four 12-pdr Mark I QF guns. Later upgraded to three 6-inch BL guns.
- Kowloon West Battery completed about 1887 with three 10-inch RML guns.
- Kowloon East Battery completed in 1890 with one 9.2-inch Mark IV gun
- Kowloon Dock Battery completed about 1880 with three 9-inch RML guns.
- Pottinger Battery completed in 1903 with two 9.2-inch BL Mark X guns.
- Gough Battery completed about 1902 with two 6-inch BL Mark VII guns. One upgraded to 9.2-inch Mark X gun.