Kelly & Walsh – Shanghai publisher, Hong Kong bookshops

HF:  Kelly & Walsh was a notable Shanghai-based publisher of English language books, founded in 1876, which currently exists and has two shops (Pacific Place and the Landmark) in Hong Kong specializing in art books. It is affiliated to the Hong Kong Book Centre and Swindon Book Company Ltd.

Kelly & Walsh logo wikipediaKelly & Walsh Ltd. was formed in 1876 by combining two Shanghai booksellers: Kelly and Co. and F. & C. Walsh. It was incorporated on July 1, 1885 and was most active from the 1880s through the 1930s, with publications from cities including Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Yokohama.

It moved to Hong Kong following the occupation of China by the Japanese and was ultimately sold to book seller Swindon Book Co. Ltd. in Hong Kong.(1)

From 1969: All members of the [Royal Asiatic Society, HK] Branch will have seen books bearing the name of this famous Eastern publishing house, and some may own a few of their many publications over the last century. Dr. J. R. Jones has contributed a note taken verbatim from an old book in his possession, which demonstrates the firm’s long history. It reads:

“Probably the next oldest printing and publishing concern in Shanghai is Messrs. Kelly and Walsh, Limited, formed in 1876 by the amalgamation of two local booksellers, Kelly and Company and F. & C. Walsh. While this firm’s main concern is bookselling, it also runs an important printing business, turning out high class work of every description. It, too, publishes books, and now has a very long list of excellent works to its credit, mainly, of course, on China and things Chinese. Originally situated on the Bund, this company moved to its present site on Nanking Road in 1918.”

Dr. Jones comments: “Nine years after the amalgamation in 1876, the Company was incorporated on 1st July 1885. Its primary object was stated to be to acquire the business then carried on at Hong Kong and elsewhere under the style of Kelly & Walsh which evidently was until then a partnership. There were seven subscribers to the Memorandum, five of them being described as “stationers” with an address at 11 The Bund, Shanghai while the other two were stationers with an address at 19 Queen’s Road, Hong Kong. I would gather from this that they were all members of the group of partners and employees of Kelly & Walsh in Shanghai and Hong Kong. The principal subscriber was Thomas Brown of Shanghai who took 1114 out of 1350 shares.”

It is hoped to provide more information about this historic publishing house in a later issue of the Journal.(2)

Kelly & Walsh Advert For German Photo Album HK Daily Press 12.12.1930

HK Daily Press 12.12.1930

This article was first posted on 18th August 2016.


  1. Wikipedia – Kelly & Walsh
  2. Notes and Queries – Kellyand Walsh RASKHB Vol 9 1969
  3. The Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch website RASHKB says “Anyone with an interest in the history, art, literature and culture of China and Asia, with special reference to Hong Kong, will enjoy membership of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, which is generally regarded as the premier Society for the study of Hong Kong and South China. Dating back over 150 years, the Society is today a very active body, organizing varied visits, talks, seminars and more.”


  • Guy Ellis

    I am writing about Thomas Brown’s wife Alice and would really like to find out more about Kelly and Walsh when he took out the major subscription please. Would you be able to assist?
    Thanks Guy Ellis

    • Hi Mr. Ellis,
      Are you referring to Alice Jane Campbell (1858-1890)? I am working on the history of KW and interested to know more about Thomas Brown as well.
      Hoi-to Wong

      • Guy

        Yes that is the Alice brown i am interested in. very happy to work with you and pass on the information I gather.. You may wish to contact me on which will be easier for passing information

      • Hi Mr. Wong –

        I am also trying to seach out some history on Kelly and Walsh, particularly their map publishing interests, but they are shockingly elusive. Do we even know Kelly and Walsh’s full names?

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