Vincent Sorby, manager of Hong Kong Electric Company

IDJ has sent the following newspaper article which was published in the Hong Kong Sunday Herald in a 1930s long series entitled Hong Kong Personalities.

HF: I have retyped the original article to aid clarity and searches.

Thanks to SCT for proofreading the retyped copy of the article.

Hong Kong Personalities

Vincent Sorby HK Sunday Herald From Idj


This is the thirty-sixth of the exclusive series of sketches of leading Colony residents by Mr. A.S. Konya, the talented Hungarian artist.

Our Personality this week is Mr. Vincent Sorby, the newly-appointed Manager of the Hong Kong Electric Company Limited.

Mr. Sorby, who was born in 1881 at Hardwich, near Sheffield, received his education at Doncaster Grammar School and the Sheffield Technical School, where he trained as an electrical engineer. Subsequently he was articled to the late Mr. William Johnson, Manager of the Sheffield Electric Supply Co. Ltd. It is almost 31 years since Mr. Sorby joined the staff of the Hong Kong Electric Company, the actual date being May 1901; since that time he has remained with the Company and has only been absent from Hong Kong on periodical leave, except during the first two years of the Great War, when he served as a gunner on board the auxiliary cruiser Empress of Russia.

At the time of Mr. Sorby’s joining the Company, he recalls, the power station was situated in Wing Fung Street, Wanchai, and the current was carried into town by means of overhead cables. Moreover the station had to be shutdown for three hours every Sunday, to allow of the cleaning of the switchboard. The General Manager at that time was Mr. W.H. Wickham.

During his long service with the Company, Mr. Sorby has had to deal with every department of the generating and supply side of the business and for the past five years has been Mains Engineer and First Assistant. It may be mentioned that he is a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers.

Mr. Sorby has seen service in two wars: first  as a trooper in the Imperial Yeomanry, when he went through 18 months fighting in South Africa during the Boer War, and secondly as a naval gunner during the Great War on board the Empress of Russia, cruising in the Red Sea, the Southern Indian Ocean, and in Philippine waters.

In 1917 Mr. Sorby married Miss Patricia Conway. They have three children: two sons, who are at schools in England, and a young daughter who is with them in Hong Kong.

[The article ends with a list of the thirty-five previous biographies.]

Source: Hong Kong Sunday Herald 7th April 1935.

This article was first posted on 15th March 2022.

HF: Vincent Sorby died on 15th January 1942 in Hong Kong. If you can provide any further information about his time in Hong Kong or images of him I would be very grateful.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. The Hongkong Electric Company Ltd – Early History – 1889 to c1908
  2. The Hong Kong Electric Company – 1889 to the decommissioning of Ap Lei Chau Power station in 1989
  3. Hong Kong Electric – pioneer of mechanised tunnelling in 1989
  4. Francis Richard Marsh – General Manager of the Hong Kong Electric Company 1921-[1929]
  5. World War Two -1945 BAAG report on occupied Hong Kong – electricity
  6. CLP + HEC: Consumer Council call for break up of the duopoly


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