Cosmopolitan Dock – unusual double dock feature

Stephen Davies: The interesting thing about Cosmopolitan Dock – unique in HK and quite uncommon elsewhere – is that it was designed from the outset as two docks in one; an inner and an outer. The dock had a fat, slightly shorter outer part (212 x 100 feet) and a slightly narrower, slightly longer inner part (234 x 83 feet – […]

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Netherlands Harbour Works Company – dredging HK harbour / reclamation at Kai Tak 1927

IDJ: Possibly the earliest large scale dredging and reclamation contractor in HK was the above company. HF: ‘…the road passes Macao Siac where the Netherlands Harbour Works Co has established its workshops in connection with the Port Works of Macao …” 1929 (1) Problems for the company in Australia during WW2: There is also a contemporary Royal Netherlands Harbour Works based in […]

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Cosmopolitan Docks during the Japanese Occupation, 1942-1945

Elizabeth Ride: Extracts from reports in the BAAG Intelligence Summaries.  Layout [Map reference 192583:  GSGS 3868 1/20,000 HK&NT]. Sketch not found, but this Japanese map of the harbour and facilities may contain some information to  readers of Japanese.  2. During the Occupation. “According to one source, many of the ships salvaged by the Japanese were taken to this dockyard for repair.” 1943 […]

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Olyphant & Co, China 19th century (Hong Kong office)

HF: Olyphant & Co. was a merchant trading house in 19th-century China. From its initial involvement there, the firm expanded into other countries including Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.  Olyphant & Co’s business dealings in Peru caused the company to collapse in 1878. The firm was founded in Canton by David WC Olyphant (1789-1851) and Charles N Talbot after their former employer, King […]

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Taikoo Dockyard during the Occupation 1942-1945 – new information and photo

New Information in  red Extracts from reports in the BAAG Intelligence Summaries. Layout. Map reference 253545 . Map “GSGS 3868, 1/20,000 HK&New Territories” BAAG Agents´ drawings. [Can a Chinese speaker add more information about these drawings?] Craig Mitchell had this one translated and has kindly sent a copy. He writes “My friends have been up to the tunnel system mentioned in […]

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George Underhill Sands (1824-1881?) – connection to three HK companies

Stephen Davies and Hugh Farmer have collaborated in researching the life of George U Sands (1824-1881). In particular his time as the captain of a steamship in China and his later involvement in three Hong Kong companies. Stephen’s contributions are indicated, all others are from HF. Any information about Mr Sands during his time in both China and Hong Kong and […]

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Kowloon (HK & Whampoa) Dockyards during the Occupation 1942-45

ER: Extracts from reports in the BAAG Intelligence Summaries. 1. Layout. [Map reference 223585: GSGS 3868 HK & New Territories 1/20,000] 2. During hostilities.“Superficial damage was caused by enemy bombing on the first day of the war. Dock gates were not damaged.” 3. During the Occupation. 1942. “The materials left in the Kowloon Docks are rapidly diminishing. There is an […]

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Fresnel Lenses – Barbier, Benard & Turenne – AGA and Waglan lighthouse…

HF: Barbier, Benard and Turenne (BBT) was a French company founded in 1862. It specialized in the manufacture of lights, optical devices and lighting systems. And complete lighthouses including the one on Hong Kong’s Waglan Island. The lighthouse incorporated Fresnel lenses. The Swedish Company AGA was later involved as was its UK subsidiary Pharos Marine. I didn’t know the name […]

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Waglan Island lighthouse – a brief history

Stephen Davies provides further information about the history of Waglan Island lighthouse, its link to another in NE China and to two European companies. And a Swede who was awarded the Nobel prize for Physics for his invention regarding the illumination of lighthouses. SD: The light was built by Paris lighthouse makers Barbier, Bénard & Turenne as one of two identical lights for the […]

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Waglan Island lighthouse – inaugurated on 9th May, 1893

Stephen Davies rightly laments: Some of our maritime heritage, like the older lighthouses, are…gazetted monuments… but by far and away the majority of the maritime past that made Hong Kong what it is, from the historic dockyards, shipyards, wharves, jetties and basins…are dead, buried and for the most part forgotten. From a note attached to Stephen’s article, The Principal Datum: Some […]

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