Pok Fu Lam was first mentioned in writing in 1819 as one of 2 villages on Hong Kong Island. Fed by a stream that led to Waterfall Bay, residents lived off the land growing crops. The stream also attracted dairy farmers. In 1886, Scottish surgeon Sir Patrick Manson and a few businessmen founded a dairy farm here, building pastures, cowsheds, and dormitories for their workers. From then on, Pok Fu Lam was associated with Dairy Farm, with almost half of the village working there by the late 1950s. At its peak, about 1500 cows were housed here.
More changes came after World War II, with the end of rice farming and refugees from China building shacks on the fields. Outsiders thought this maze of lowrise buildings was more akin to a slum.
Dairy Farm's operations closed in the 1980s, and its dormitories are now abandoned and fenced off. With the government classifying parts of the village as a squatter area, the threat of redevelopment looms.
This is the stream where the story of Pok Fu Lam began, and this section along the hillside has been decorated into a pleasant public space.
The British influence is also nearby. In 1861, a Scottish shipowner built a medieval castle here, which is now part of the university.