Lined with garages and billowing laundry, it is hard to picture “13 Streets” in To Kwa Wan as an industrial stronghold.
After the British took over the New Territories, villages in To Kwa Wan were torn down in the 1920s, and the land was sold to factory owners. In 1924, a rope factory was built at the current location of “13 Streets”, and it was converted to the Nanyang Cotton Mill after the Second World War. In 1959, rapid population growth prompted landlords to build homes instead.
Today, the walk-up buildings on 13 Streets are used for both commercial activities, such as garages, and housing — many of which are subdivided flats.