Ah King’s Shipyard – location 1925 to 1955?

The image below, courtesy of gwulo.com may show part of Ah King’s shipyard in its second location and was taken shortly after the 1937 typhoon but, given the indications of the street index referred to below, this cannot have been the yard, which is either in the extreme right of the picture of is just off it.

Further details about the photo can be seen at http://gwulo.com/atom/17564
Ah Kings shipyard, from Gwulo
The 1937 photograph could be of the old A King boatyard in its Causeway Bay location. I think the actual yard may just show on the right of the photo but with the main slipways out of shot. What we can see appears to be the water frontage where boats were moored waiting for work to be done or to be collected. This argues that at this stage the yard extended along quite a frontage – maybe a hundred metres or more. This would be consonant with the scale of work we know they did, which included vessels up to substantial small coaster size, ie 200-300 register tons. However, there is some hard evidence as to location. Reviewing the evidence in 1938 the Ah King operation was still quite small and, interestingly, was not on a gazetted lot. Here is the entry from the John Wyatt, Street Index for the City of Victoria, &c., & c., 25th edition, Noronha & Co., 1938, p.179: Electric Road
Ah King's Shipyard - John Wyatt, Street Index for the City of Victoria
So the first lot on the left headed north along Electric Road, which begins “from junction of Causeway Road and King’s Road (i.e. BEFORE we come to the first basin noted below), is neither an Inland nor a Marine Lot but Crown Land and at this stage occupied by Ah King.
Hence my doubts about the Gwulo location. The small map in the BAAG piece at top shows A King’s slipway and yard tucked right in the corner of the 1937 period Causeway Bay typhoon shelter after the completion of Causeway Road but before the driving through of King’s Road had been mapped as completed. This conforms with the Street Index evidence.If you look at this detail of a 1937-45 (1937 survey with updates) map you can see it basically agrees with the BAAG map and shows what the Street Index indicates. What it seems to imply agrees with the doubts about the Gwulo photo analysis, once one sorts out where the main yard is. You can see there are two basins in the south east corner. The Ah King yard seems to have been in the smaller, furthest south basin with its place of business on the piece of Crown Land immediately south. The building with “A King” on the end wall is somewhere in the cluster of buildings north of the larger more northerly basin and may be the “A King” on the walls is unrelated or was an advertisement. It is possible that over the years up to the 1950s and its relocation, the yard expanded to include both basins.
Causeway Bay typhoon shelter map 1937-1945 Stephen Davies snipped
I found a 1950s photo that seems to show, if not exactly where A King’s yard was, because nothing is actually identifiable, then where from the other evidence we have reason to suppose it was. When this area the typhoon shelter was reclaimed to create Victoria Park in 1955, the yard moved to its final location just WNW of where the Tung Lo Wan Fire Station now stands.


  • Watson

    A. King Slipway. I have been living this district Causeway Bay since the 1940’s and have seen the development and relocation of A. King Slipway. Here is the exact location of A. Kings Slipway.

    1940 The location according to the present address system would be at No. 30 Hing Fat Street, Kaifong Welfare Association Building.The Hing Fat Street Post Office is there today. The slipway fronted the old Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter. A two level building was constructed there. The owner Ah King lived on the upper floor and the lower floor were workshops.

    1941 During the Japanese war, a Japanese Bomber plane was shot down and lodged at the slipway. The bomber was removed after the war.

    1950 The government planned to build Victoria Park and needed to reclaim the old Typhoon Shelter from No.1 to No.98 Hing Fat Street. The new Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter was moved outwards to 98 Hing Fat Street, where Citibank Tower is today in 2015.

    1950 The government offered a piece of land opposite No. 98 Hing Fat Street, where Tung Lo Wan Fire Stations is today and A. King Slipway moved to this new location and built a new slipway there. The Port Health Service Pier was located next to A. King Slipway.

    1960 Shipyard business was slowing down and the slipway did not have much activity.

    1973 A. King Slipway Company Limited was incorporated on 4th Sept 1973 under Incorporation No. 0035253.

    1980 The Island Eastern Corridor was constructed and completed in 1986. The flyover beams or the corridor was partially blocking access to the slipway and the slipway on repaired small boats.

    1986 The government conducted negotiations and acquired the land from A. King slipway and contracted the Tung Lo Wan Fire Station at the location.

  • Bob Cole

    My name is Bob Cole of Port Alberni, B.C. Canada.
    I have an original A. King Slipway built 19′ “Teak Lady” that was one of the bunch that were commissioned by the British Army in the 1920’s and early 30’s. Before they finished building the full compliment, the war had ended in which they were intended to be used. These were all teak, high speed, stepped hull craft with a small cabin in which to hide the attacking troops.
    In 1987 my wife and I visited what remained of the original boatyard and met Leung Kwai Wing living upstairs in the old building that still housed some of the cast bronze and machined hardware from the old days.
    I showed him a picture of my boat and showed him the original builders copper plate.
    He explained that my boat was one of a few that he built that ended up in North America. Mine being sold to a lawyer in Vancouver. The boat ended up in the 1940’s at Sproat Lake where I live in the 1940’s. It ended up stored for 40 years in an old warehouse and then donated to a Boy Scout troop who intended to restore it. I found it abandoned in 1985 and have dry stored it ever since.
    I am in the process of donating this boat to our local Maritime Heritage Society and would love to know if there are any pictures, plans, drawings or original engine information so that it can be restored to its original glory before its centennial.

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