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Behind the Name: Lyndhurst Terrace

By Celia Lee 15 September 2023

Header image courtesy of OiA la MELCHOW (via Wikimedia Commons)

If you already know all about Hong Kong’s major landmarks, you will be interested to learn that the vibrant history of the city is often hidden in plain sight, surrounded by high-rises interspersed with traffic-packed streets.

With the best-kept historical secrets woven into the fabric of everyday life, location names are a big part of our rich cultural landscape, revealing some of the most interesting aspects of the past. From local pirates to a royal visit, our “Behind the Name” series explores a whole host of places in Hong Kong with fascinating stories behind their names.

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Lyndhurst Terrace, Hong Kong. By John Thomson, ca. 1869. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Lyndhurst Terrace (擺花街)

If you frequently stroll around the populated area of Central, you will surely have passed by Lyndhurst Terrace at least once on your route. Located on a slope, the road connects Wellington Street with Hollywood Road and intersects Gage Street and Cochrane Street, whilst Lyndhurst Terrace itself is intersected by the Central–Mid-Levels escalator.

Named after assistant magistrate John Singleton Copley Lyndhurst, the Cantonese translation of Lyndhurst Terrace has little to do with the magistrate himself, and everything to do with the history of the street, funnily enough. 擺花街 (baai2 faa1 gaai1) literally translates to “Flower Arrangement Street,” relating to its historical function, and giving us a glance into early colonial life in Soho.

In the nineteenth century, before Lyndhurst Terrace became what it is today, it was populated by flower vendors selling bouquets and buds, and their more frequent customers were patrons of Hong Kong’s earliest brothels that existed in the area. While these businesses no longer exist, the Cantonese name remains as a token of an eccentric past.

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Celia Lee

Staff writer

Born and raised in Hong Kong and educated in the UK, Celia is passionate about culture, food, and different happenings in the city. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her scouting for new and trendy restaurants, getting lost in a bookstore, or baking up a storm at home.