Lammert & Company – watchmakers, auctioneers and an 1858 murder
“Lammert the auctioneers have a long history in Hong Kong. Their first association in Hong Kong was with the watchmaking trade. The transition form the watch to the auction hammer occurred as follows.
One of the assistants in the watchmaking shop of Charles Weiss in 1852 was M Zobel. He is listed as a watchmaker from 1853 to 1855. In 1856 L Zobel, watchmaker, is mentioned (Friend of China 3 July 1856) and two years later Mr GL Zobel announced his intention of leaving Hong Kong. His business was carried on by Charles Henry Glatz (FC 1 Dec 1858)
Tragedy struck in 1858 when a youth employed in the shop as a watchmaker was murdered by a coolie who had been engaged by Mr Glatz’s servant to take over his duties while he was absent. The murderer fled to Macao but was captured and returned to Hong Kong for trial (FC 27, 30 Jan 1858). The victim was a French lad named Francis Hypolie [Hypohe?], but he was also known as Francis Glatz. He was probably a foster son of Mr Glatz.
By 1861 Mr Glatz had left Hong Kong and was in Paris, and George Reinhold Lammert, his partner, was in charge of the Hong Kong store. At that time watchmaking is no longer mentioned and the firm of Glatz and Lammert was described as as auctioneers, storekeepers and commission agents.
About the year 1863 the name was changed to Lammert, Atkinson and Co., Mr Glatz having retired and James Atkinson having joined. Atkinson left the firm about 1867. William Henry Moore and Otto Friedrich joined as partners in June 1870 (Daily Advertiser 2 Oct 1871). Mr Moore was with the company until 1877. He died in Brixton, England on 30 April 1897. Mr Friedrich severed his connection in 1874 or 1875.
George Reinhold Lammert married on 28 January 1862 at St John’s Cathedral, Hong Kong, Miss Jane Hilder. They had ten children. He died on 21 September 1897, aged sixty six.
For many years his auction house was at Pedder’s Wharf (Daily Press 6 May 1892). Their next premise was on Duddell Street. From there they moved in 1935 to the Oriental Building on Connaught Road – the present site of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. After the liberation of Hong Kong in 1945 they moved into the Pedder Building. Only recently has the company again relocated (SCMP 7 April 1958).
After the death of George Reinhold Lammert, his eldest son George Philip took charge of the business. The business was eventually passed to GR’s youngest son, Lionel. Lionel’s son in law Ken A Watson became a partner in 1956 (SCMP 8 Apr 1956).”
- The German Speaking Community in HK 1846-1918 RASHKB Vol 34, 1994
This article was first posted on 9th February 2017.
- 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.”
The Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch website
Related Indhhk articles:
- The German Speaking Community in Hong Kong 1846-1918 – Part One
- The German Speaking Community in Hong Kong 1846-1918 – Part Two
- Charles Weiss, Hong Kong chronometer and watchmaker, c1844-1856
- Henry Vaucher, Hong Kong watchmaker, c1856-1857
- Douglas Lapraik – watchmaker, shipowner and co-founder of the Hongkong & Whampoa Dock Company
- Levy Hermanos – Watch Emporium, Central – late 19th and early 20th centuries
- The Stelux Group, founded HK 1963, manufacturer of watch components