Page:Twentieth Century Impressions of Hongkong, Shanghai, and other Treaty Ports of China.djvu/222

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South China Department, and covers the district of China as far east and north as Foochow, and includes Formosa and the Philippines, Indo-China, and Siam.

In February, 1895, the present general manager, Mr. J. W. Bolles, joined the Hongkong branch as chief assistant to Mr. Wheeler, having previously been manager of one of the Company's interests in Virginia, U.S.A. In June of the same year, Mr. W. B. Walker, the present assistant manager came to the office as an assistant, and from time to time the staff has been augmented by Messrs. D. H. Cameron, now manager at Canton; L. I. Thomas, now manager of the coast port, at Amoy; W. W. Clark, now manager of Indo-China; W. D. Kraft, second assistant manager; F. H. McHugh, chief accountant, and several others from the American offices.


Hongkong has not many departmental stores where the purchaser can go from room to room and find everything that he may require with the minimum amount of trouble and loss of time. But at the establishment of Messrs. Lane, Crawford & Co. anything from a pin to an anchor can be purchased. It was in 1850—only a few years after the British took possession of Hongkong—that Messrs. T. A. Lane & Ninian Crawford started the business. Until 1905 they occupied premises situated on the old Praya, and extending right through to Queen's Road Central. Although large, these premises were found to be inadequate and entirely unsuited to present-day requirements, and, consequently, the present handsome block of buildings was erected for the firm by the Hongkong Land Investment Company, from the designs of Messrs. Leigh & Orange. The main entrance is in Ice House Street, within a short distance of the Kowloon Ferry Wharf and in the centre of the European business quarter. The showrooms occupy three floors and cover an area of 20,000 square feet, the departments embracing ship-chandlery, grocery, outfitting, hardware, furnishing and upholstery, tailoring, millinery, and piano and musical instruments.

In describing their activities in various directions the fact is worthy of note that Lane, Crawford & Co. were the first to supply the shipping of the port with fresh water, and for many years their fleet of sailing water boats was well known to every vessel visiting the harbour. Recently, in order to keep pace with the increased requirements of the port, they have used steam water boats, and this part of the business is now merged in the Union Water Boat Company, Ltd. In the early eighties a severe drought was experienced in the Colony, and the shortage of water caused much suffering among the poorer classes of Chinese. Lane, Crawford & Co. thereupon placed their water boats at the Government's disposal, and for this disinterested service they received public thanks.

The present partners in the business are Messrs. A. H. Skelton, Duncan Clark, and F. C. Wilford. The firm employs a large staff of Europeans, who are accommodated in splendid quarters.

The Manager's Office.The Bottling Department.


The firm of Messrs. Caldbeck, Macgregor & Co., established in 1864, is the largest and best known in the wine and spirit trade in the East. The headquarters are in Rangoon Street, Crutched Friars, London, and there are branches in Glasgow, Shanghai, Hongkong, Singapore, and Tientsin; whilst agencies have been established at Port Arthur, Chefoo, Weihaiwei, Kiaochau, Hankow, Foochow, Taiwan, Canton, Macao, the Philippines, British North Borneo, and Penang. The Hongkong branch, which was opened in 1889, is managed by Mr. C. J. Lafrentz, one of the managing partners of the firm; whilst Mr. Frank Lammert is assistant manager and signs per pro. Messrs. A. G. da Rocha, and C. J. M. Pereira are assistants, and there is a large staff of men engaged in the godowns and in the bottling department, which latter is under the charge of Europeans. An extensive trade is done with the army and navy, with the numerous local clubs and hotels, and with the leading residents of the Colony. Over a hundred and fifty British men-of-war have been supplied by the firm since 1878, and about fifty military messes have dealt with the firm since 1890. Nearly a hundred United States warships also appear on the list of patrons. The firm undertakes contracts on special terms, allowing in full for unconsumed stocks returned in good order. The firm has a special cable code for out-ports,