Tung Tai Tseung Kee & Company, 同泰祥記, engineers and shipbuilders, 1897 to c1945

Tung Tai Tseung Kee & Co A 20th Century ImpressionsThis following is from a 1908 account: “This well-known firm of engineers and shipbuilders was originally established by Mr Choi Chik Nam, in 1897, for the purpose of building and repairing steam launches, river craft etc. Two workshops are now kept busy – one at Yaumati, and the other at Praya East, Wanchai – and afford employment for close upon five hundred workmen.

The firm holds contracts from the French Government at Saigon, and is entrusted with the execution of repairs for the Indo China, Hamburg Amerika, and the Japanese lines of steamers.

Upwards of a hundred steam launches have been built by this firm for Manila. One launch was 140 feet in length, and fitted with triple-expansion engines. The proprietor of the firm, Mr Lan Fat, was born in San On Province, China, received his education in Hongkong, and was afterwards apprenticed as a draughtsman to Messrs. Fenwick & Co. for nine years.

He was then for nearly two years engineer to Messrs. Marty & Co., until in 1895, he joined Messrs, Tung Tai Tseung Kee & Co. as manager. In this position he remained for ten years, when he purchased the business. Mr Lan Fat is married and has a family of four sons and three daughters.

At Wanchai the business of the firm is is managed by Mr S Ahmet, who was born in Macao and educated at Queen’s College, Hongkong. He served an apprenticeship of five years at the Gordon Foundry, East Point, and then joined the Amoy Engineering Works. Three years later he entered the service of Messrs. Tung Tai Tseung Kee & Co., becoming assistant manager in 1901, and receiving his present appointment in 1905.” (1)

York Lo:  During the 1908 typhoon – “At the Tung Tai Tseung Kee Tung shipyard (a local firm of engineers and shipbuilders) a small steamer under construction was smashed against the Praya wall and badly damaged. It was lifted bodily onto the Praya promenade, but later carried back into the water again by the terrific waves.” (2)

York Lo: Tung Tai Tseung Kee & Company, 同泰祥記, last appeared in the Lloyd’s Register of 1933 and the International Shipping & Shipbuilding Directory of 1934 – at that point its address was located in North Point. (3)

Elizabeth Ride has sent this brief mention of what I presume is a reference to Tung Tai shipbuilding. The mention of Lamma Shipyard and Aberdeen Dock is at first glance confusing. The BAAG report 1945 shown below offers an explanation.

BAAG WIS #28 25.4.43

ER also sent a BAAG trace map of February 1945 of the north shore of HK Island. Below is a small portion of the map, enlarged but still reasonably clear, showing the location of the Tung Tai Yard at the eastern exit from the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter.

And this brief extract from BAAG Intelligence Summaries written during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, World War Two and an accompanying sketch of the yard.

 

BAAG report 1945: The Tung Tai Shipbuilding Yard at Causeway Bay, together with Ah King´s Shipyard nearby, form the No 2 Branch of the Lamma Shipyard.  Construction and repair of wooden auxiliary vessels are undertaken here.  Between July and November 1944, 2 diesel-driven sailing vessels were built.  In December 1944, a third sailing vessel was under construction.  Prior to July 1943, there were only 2 slipways, but 2 more have since been added.  About 1100 Chinese are employed, many of them were engaged from Canton.  Working hours are 0800-1230 hrs and 1310-1800 hrs.  Hours for overtime , now (1945) infrequent, are 1800-2400 hrs.  Power is still supplied from the North Point Power Station, but is used only when necessitated by essential work.  This restriction, together with the shortage of metals, has prevented the yard from expanding its work.

York Lo: It’s name is not listed in the 1949 directory of HK, Macao and Canton business so I suspect it did not survive WW2. (4)

This article was first posted on 2nd August 2015 with additional information added on 3rd May 2017.

Sources:

  1. Twentieth Century Impressions of Hongkong, Shanghai and other Treaty Ports of China, ed A Wright, 1908.
  2. 1908 Hong Kong typhoon – wikipedia
  3. Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, Volume 2, Wyman and Sons, 1933
  4. International Shipping & Shipbuilding Directory, Volume 48, Shipping World & Shipbuilder 1934

Further information:

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Early HK Shipyards and Graving docks
  2. MacDonald & Company Shipyard, founded 1864
  3. Alexander Ross, Wanchai Shipyard owner, 1865
  4. Capt Sands’ Slip, c1870s, Sai Wan’s most influential shipyard owner
  5. 19th Century Wanchai Shipyards – Messrs. George Fenwick & Co Ltd
  6. Ah King’s Shipyard – first location 1891?-1925, west of HK Corinthian Yacht Club
  7. Ulderup and Schlüter Shipyard, Sham Shui Po c1900-1914
  8. Bailey’s Shipyard – 1908 Account
  9. Smaller Shipyards in Hong Kong during the Japanese Occupation 1942-1945
  10. Aberdeen Dock (Lamma Shipyard) during the Japanese occupation 1942-1945

3 Comments

  • Yves guy BERTRAND

    Bonjour
    Please excuse me to disturb you with my bad english.
    I read in this very interesting article about the Tung Tai Tsung Kee & Co.which had contracts with French Government in Saïgon – Indochina.
    Does it possible to find the list of ships built by this shipyard? particularly for the French?
    I am researching informations about a tug named PAUL BERT built in 1908 for Travaux Publics – Haiphong
    Amitiés
    Yves

    • Hello Yves

      Thank you for your comment about Tung Tai Tsung Kee shipyard. I cannot help you but I have asked someone who knows a lot about Hong Kong shipyards. If he can help you I will contact you.

      Best wishes
      Hugh Farmer

    • Hello again Yves

      I have received this reply from Peter Cundall regarding your request for information about Tung Tai Tseung Kee & Company shipyard shipping lists and in particular the tug Paul Bert. Sorry we can’t be of more help to you.

      Best wishes
      Hugh Farmer

      Unfortunately I have nothing on this tug. Information on Far Eastern prewar tugs (unless owned by well-known European companies) is generally very scarce. I have a very good database that covers nearly all vessels over 300 gt, but tugs built in 1908 were usually a maximum of 150 gt and typically around 110 so too small for my records.

      There was a well known passenger cargo ship called Paul Beau that I have info on but not Paul Bert.

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