Manufacturing in HK 1876 and 1881 – a comparison of numbers of workers

Hugh Farmer writes, in Newsletter Seven  I mentioned Chinese manufacturing enterprises in the 1870s. These included two for preserving ginger and other processed food including soy sauce and preserved fruit, several machine-makers, a tannery, a paper factory and a manufacturer of matches, workshops for producing cigars, tobacco, clothing, glass, oars, rifles, ropes, umbrellas, spectacles, tooth-powder and soap, as well as small factories for producing goods in bamboo and rattan.

A  1881 report by Governor Pope-Hennessy extends the above information. Here is a condensed form in which census returns from 1876 to 1881 are compared showing how many workers were occupied in a similar range of manufacturing enterprises.

Bamboo workers increased from 93 in 1876 to 121 in 1881

Boat builders                                 48 to 110

Carvers                                          59 to   70

Cigar makers                                21 to    31

Gold beaters                                 41 to    60

Glass manufacturers                     0 to    16

Lantern makers                           50 to    63

Leather box makers                    39 to    53

Watch manufacturers                    0 to    13

Oar makers                                   30 to    43

Rifle makers                                    0 to      5

Sail and Rope makers                100 to  141

Sandal-wood dealers                    74 to    76

Paper box makers                         21 to   10 (a decline)

Rattan workers                           596 to 448 (a decline)

It would interesting to discover how many of  the 1876 and 1881 businesses, and workers, were Chinese or not.

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