Leigh and Orange Ltd – 1889 “builders” of Hongkong Cotton-Spinning…Company

HF: A visit on 6th Feb 2014 to the Hong Kong Museum of History led to the following information about The Hongkong Cotton-Spinning, Weaving and Dyeing Company Ltd 1898 -1914.

Hong Kong Spinning, Cotton, Weaving & Dying Co Ltd IDJ 1

This was the first major cotton spinning company in Hong Kong and was formed in 1898 by Messrs. Jardine, Matheson & Co Ltd. (see article below).

A photograph of the works at the Museum stated that it was “built” by  Leigh and Orange Ltd, Engineers. Leigh and Orange were, and are,  primarily architects so I’m not sure if “built” means designed, constructed or both. And the term “Engineers” seems misleading. I shall contact the firm to see if they can confirm their involvement.

Founded in Hong Kong in 1874, Leigh & Orange began as a company called Sharp & Danby. It took twenty years and four name changes, including Danby & Leigh and Danby, Leigh & Orange for the firm to evolve into Leigh & Orange.

I can find very little about early projects from 1874 up to 1898 when The Hongkong Cotton-Spinning, Weaving and Dyeing Company Ltd was built. Later projects included the Dairy Farm Deport (1892) which currently houses the Fringe Club and the FCC, the Old Mental Hospital (1892) in Sai Ying Pun and the Queen’s Building (1899).

No mention of the HK Cotton-Spinning Company. However around this period the firm ” designed go-downs, warehouses, docks and the Star Ferry wharves critical components of the central city in the days when those zones were generally waterfront industrial in use.”

A direct link between the two companies would be very useful.

This article was first posted on 7th February 2014.


  1. The Hongkong Cotton-Spinning, Weaving and Dyeing Company Ltd 1898 -1914 
  2. http://web.leighorange.com/en/history/
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leigh_%26_Orange



  • James

    Leigh & Orange. Everything I have read has Leigh & Orange being founded in 1874 as Sharp & Danby. However, as far as i can see, Sharp & Danby was not founded until 1st April 1879. (The partnership was dissolved in 1881)

    Source: http://sunzi.lib.hku.hk/hkgro/view/g1879/686128.pdf

    W Danby is listed as late as 1878 being employed as a Draftsman & Clerk of Works in the Surveyor General’s Department. Do you have any evidence that Danby started a firm in 1874?

    Many Thanks

    • Dear James

      Dear James
      Many thanks for your recent comment about Leigh & Orange.
      I am afraid I don’t anything else to add regarding the origins of the company other than what’s in the Indhhk article and on the company website. I mentioned in the article that I would contact the company but, as happens, other things took over, and in fact I never did.
      Your link takes me to HK Government Reports Online 1842-1941. Would you be able to find the report again that suggests Sharp & Danby was not formed until 1879, and dissolved in 1881,and send me a copy of the relevant piece, and the name and date of that source? I could then include this in our article and see if down the line someone can finally confirm the actual origins of L&O.
      Sorry, I can’t add anything further myself, but slowly slowly we’ll get to the bottom of this little mystery.
      Thanks again for making the time and effort to leave your comment.
      Best wishes
      Hugh Farmer
      ps. I’ll email the L&O website to see if they can come up with anything.

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