Sham Shui Po in Cantonese means "Deep Water Pier". Its water was deeper than the beach of Cheung Sha Wan to the northwest. It is close to the former peninsula of Tai Kok Tsui. The low ridge of the peninsula ends in Sham Shui Po.
In the first stage, the town of Sham Shui Po was bounded by Yen Chow Street, Tung Chau Street, Wong Chuk Street and Apliu Street. Part of the town was on reclamation. The town was surrounded by villages of Un Chau, Tin Liu and Tong Mei. A nullah along Nam Cheong Street was constructed to drain the water of rivers north and east (which explains the street's wideness). The town was closed to Cosmopolitan Dock on the outer shore of Tai Kok Tsui.
Under Japanese occupation, a concentration camp was maintained here for most of the duration of the Second World War. An account of life by a British POW has been published as The Hard Way: Surviving Shamshuipo POW Camp 1941-45 by Victor Stanley Ebbage (Spellmount, 2011).
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