Leung So Kee – umbrella manufacturer
HF: Thanks to IDJ for this advert from about 1955.
Leung So Kee ( 梁蘇記) has a long history of manufacturing and retailing umbrellas.
The following information is mainly adapted from a computer translation on the company website with additional sources.
There is no mention of whether any of the numerous shops were operating at the same time, though other sources state they were, when they closed or, of great interest to us, where the umbrellas were actually made.
Can anyone provide any information about the company’s production of umbrellas, parasols etc?
The first shop was opened in Guangzhou by Leung So in 1885. He later opened another there in 1920.
Another branch opened in 1923, near Haystack Street, in Macau which apparently was the first to use machinery in the manufacturing process.
The company moved to Hong Kong and opened a shop there in 1941 at 122 Des Voeux Road and in 1944 another branch opened at 321 Shanghai Street. It is difficult to imagine that during WW2 two shops would be operating so perhaps the one on Hong Kong island closed first. The advert above suggests that the Kowloon branch was still open in the mid-1950s.
In 1949 a shop opened in Nelson Street, Mongkok.
Between 1960 and 1991 a branch operated somewhere at Castle Peak Road [235? which is in Cheung Sha Wan]. At this time the third generation of the family were running the company.
In 1966 there was another move to Choi Hung Road, San Po Kong
1969 saw a return to Hong Kong island, this time to North Point. This outlet appears to have had an adjoining pawn shop, possibly directly connected to the umbrella shop, it was certainly possible during this period to pawn umbrellas.
In 1971 yet another outlet opened at 580 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei followed in 1979 one close by at 537 Nathan Road.
Between 1991-1994 the company was installed in Castle Peak Road [195?] and now involved the fourth generation of the family followed in 1994 to somewhere in West Kowloon.
From 1996 to 2001 umbrellas where being sold at 97, Chung On Street, Tsuen Wan.
Leung So Kee currently operates shops at the Shatin Centre, Shatin and the Dragon Centre, Sham Shui Po.
22/5/14 Thomas Ngan added a comment that “Leung So Kee still has a shop in the Dragon Centre in Yen Chow Street, SSP. I have no idea where is their factory these days though.”
There is a short film (1.29m) about the company with comments by Leung Man Shing, current owner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM9qR8WeQ4E – posted by the Information Services Department, HK
There is also a full length feature film about the company, The Umbrella Story, released in 1995 see http://www.nytimes.com/movies/movie/270691/The-Umbrella-Story/overview
For more information about the company see the conference paper “Case Studies of Hong Kong Business History: the Leung So Kee Umbrella Factory 1886-1986.
This article was first posted on 8th June 2015.