Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company in China

HF: Following our recent article about the Asiatic Petroleum Company in China and Nicholas Kitto’s photographs of the APC building in Shanghai, I thought it would be of interest to learn about Royal Dutch Shell’s history there as the two companies were closely connected. Let’s start with Royal Dutch Shell in China according to their own website: Shell’s business relationship […]

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Ng Jim Kai – Financier of the Chinese Revolution and Pioneer of the Garment and Shipping Industries in Hong Kong

York Lo: In 2013, the Ford Motor Company released a 1924 letter which Sun Yat-sen sent to Henry Ford inviting him to open up a plant in south China – the bearer of the letter was a Chinese American merchant named Ng Jim Kai (a.k.a. Ng Tung Kai 吳東啟, 1859-1935). [1] A major financial backer of Sun Yat-sen for over […]

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Yates and Thom, Blackburn, UK – Makers of the original Peak Tram engines

HF:  Yates and Thom, (formerly W and J Yates), 9 Canal Ironworks, Blackburn, UK, were makers of engines for mills, collieries and waterworks. And the orginal engine for the Peak Tram which was opened for public service on 28 May 1888. Construction had begun іn September 1885. Initially a static steam engine was used to power the haulage cable “built by […]

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Sir Alexander Binnie, Binnie & Partners

HF:  The engineerng consultancy Binnie & Partners, though British, has had a close connection to Hong Kong through several large-scale engineering projects. From the late 1990s it has been part of the multi-national consultancy Black and Veatch which has its HK office  in Ngau Tau Kok. In 1909 AR Binnie and Son merged with another UK engineering consultancy to become […]

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Imperial Airways – including first scheduled flight into Hong Kong 1936

IDJ: Imperial Airways (Far East) Ltd Many people in Hong Kong have no concept of how airlines developed in the territory despite air services being their primary means of transport overseas. Airline services arrived late in Hong Kong relative to the rest of the world. Not until 1936, when the UK based Imperial Airways was slowly extending its routes from […]

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A History of the Wong Family Textile Business – Part One: Life in Shanghai

Eleanor Wong has written A History of the Wong Family Textile Business, a detailed account of her family’s business history in Shanghai, then in Hong Kong and finally Indonesia. She was assisted in this project by her editor, Carey Vail. Part One: Life in Shanghai  is a history of the Wong family’s interests in the textile industry in the city from 1911, […]

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A Look Back : Civil Engineering in Hong Kong 1841-1941

HF: Tymon Mellor and IDJ have both sent the article, A Look Back : Civil Engineering in Hong Kong 1841-1941 written by C Michael Guilford. The preface says this was  written as a contribution to mark the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers which was from 1947 to 1975, The Engineering Society of Hong Kong. […]

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Dinky Toys, made in Hong Kong by Hong Kong Industrial (HKI)

Hugh Farmer:  I grew up with Dinky Toys as did many British boys in the 1950s and 60s and had a good collection of battered, tyre less cars. I had always assumed they were made in England and indeed the main factory was at Binns Road, Liverpool. It is perhaps difficult to believe now that when I was a child, […]

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Submarine Cables – Maps 1901 + 1991 worldwide / Hong Kong networks

HF: Bill Burns runs a fascinating and detailed website about the history of submarine communication cables (linked at the end of this article). He has kindly sent four maps related to the worldwide network of such cables in 1991 and 1991. Two of the maps are centred on Hong Kong. The first is a 1901 World Map of “Grandes Communications […]

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