Wo Shing Goldsmith – on Shanghai Street since 1892
‘Goldsmiths and jewellery makers flourished on Shanghai Street in the 1970s and ’80s, given their proximity to the Yau Ma Tei typhoon shelter and their target customers – the boat-dwelling Tanka people, who put on performances and sold food to locals and tourists.
Wo Shing Goldsmith has been located on the street since 1892 and celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. Cheung Wai-nam, 70, is a second-generation owner of the family business along with his elder brother, Cheung Chuen-hoi, 85.
“There used to be more than 20 goldsmiths around us,” the younger Cheung says, while today there is only one other gold shop close to Wo Shing.
“Bank runs occurred quite often back then, so banks were not really trusted. Instead of depositing their money in the banks, people used to buy small pieces of gold [rings or loops] and chain them around their waistbands. So even if they fell into the sea, they wouldn’t lose their fortune,” Cheung says…
…Wo Shing Goldsmith used to be further down Shanghai Street in Jordan and moved to the Yau Ma Tei end in 1967, when Jordan was being redeveloped. Cheung recalls how the family lived above the original wooden-floored shop. “There was a hole in the floorboards from which we could peek into the store,” he says. He also remembers the days when water was rationed, and carrying buckets of water up the wooden stairs….’
- Hong Kong’s Shanghai Street: goldsmiths, craftsmen, kitchenware and prostitutes SCMP 10th March 2017
- Wo Shing Goldsmith – company website