Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Family Obituary - William Seybourne Bailey

Death of Hong Kong Shipbuilder. (Singapore Free Press. 8 January 1936. Page 12)

Mr. W.S. Bailey's Forty Years of Residence

The death of Mr. William Seybourne Bailey, managing director of W.S. Bailey and Co., Ltd., Kowloon Bay, took place at the War Memorial Hospital, Hong Kong, on Dec. 27 after a short illness, at the age of 76 years.
A resident of the Colony for the past 40 years, the late Mr. Bailey was one of the best liked and most highly respected business men in the Colony, having earned the affection both of friends and the staff of the firm which he so successfully established and managed.
Born in Ireland, the late Mr. Bailey was formerly connected with the Australian coasting trade and with the China coast, before going to Hong Kong. The firm of W.S. Bailey and Co. was formerly Messrs. Bailey and Murphy before the deceased took over the sole interest.
For many years the firm has had a high standing as shipbuilders and repairers, specialising in smaller craft, which were regarded a s models of good workmanship.
Mr. Bailey was also the builder of several river gunboats from the Canton Government.
Mr. Bailey was a keen sportsman, and his speciality was boxing. He figured, as a young man, in many a hard-fought contest and was at one time light-weight champion of the Colony. Long after he had retired from the ring Mr. Bailey, as referee and general patron of the sport, was still one of the leading figures in Hong Kong boxing.
Mr. Bailey was also a keen swimmer and a fine long-distance runner. Until a few years ago, all through the summer he would swim his three or four lengths at the Victoria Recreation Club, and then off for a run, to keep himself fit.
Mr. Bailey enjoyed extraordinary good health until about three years ago but, while in England, he had rather a serious illness. Though from then onward he had to take things more easily than had been his custom, he still kept hard at work and in fair health. He was only in hospital for four days, and his passing was unexpected.
Mr. Bailey was a life member of the Institute of Engineers and Shipbuilders; past president of the Kowloon Resident's Association; a member of the Hong Kong Boxing Association and of the Hong Kong Club.
He was formerly a member of the Kowloon Bowling Green Club and was also a keen and generous supporter of St. Andrew's Church.
Mr. Bailey is survived by a widow and four young children, two of whom are in Hong Kong and two at school in Australia having left here only a few weeks ago.

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Jurors Lists for William Seybourne Bailey
1899 Merchant. Bailey's Engineering Agency. 17 Praya Central.
1900 Merchant. Bailey's Engineering Agency. 17 Praya Central.
1901 17 Praya Central, Hong Kong, China
1902 Merchant. Bailey's Engineering Agency. Hong Kong Hotel
1903 Merchant. Bailey's Engineering Agency. Hong Kong Hotel
1904 17 Praya Central, Hong Kong
1905 Merchant. Bailey's Engineering Agency. W.S. Bailey & Co. Hok-un
1906 Bailey's Engineering Agency. (does not show address)
1907 Bailey & Co Hong Kong Hotel
1908 Engineer. Bailey & Co., 20 Connaught Road.
1909 Engineer. Bailey & Co. Highlands, Kowloon
1910 Bailey & Co, Highlands, Kowloon

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Postcard of the Hong Kong Club Building c. 1905.
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"Twentieth Century Impressions of Hong Kong, Shanghai, etc." by Arnold Wright vol 1. page 242 has a good description of the company W.S. Bailey & Co.
Here's a few details
Founded - 1897 by W.S. Bailey
Partnership - 1900 with Mr. E.O. Murphy
First order - 50 foot steam launch "Ida"for the Hong Kong Steam Laundry Company
1905 - upwards of 2,500 men employed in the yard
Some other ships built - Kwong Chow, Kwong Tung, Loong Sheung.
Customers included Messrs. Markwald & Co., the Imperial Chinese Navy, Standard Oil Co. of New York, Manila Govt.,
Non ship related - metal work for Kowloon-Canton Railway Terminal Station (1914)

"The senior partner, Mr. Bailey, was born in Dublin and served his apprenticeship as an engineer with the Australian Steam Navigation Company, of Sydney, N.S.W. He came to Hong Kong in 1890 and joined the Hongkong, Canton and Macao Steamboat Company Ltd., in whose steamers Honan and Heungshan he served until he started in business for himself. Mr. Bailey is a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London."
At the time the entry was written his partner Mr. Murphy was vice-president of the Institute of Marine Engineers, London.
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St. Andrews Church c. 1906 shortly after it was built.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for putting this up. This is my Great Grandad and i wasn't expecting on finding much when i did a random google. Was a shock to get something of value. Thanks a lot!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I live in Canada but my family, though British, were born and raised in Hong Kong and Kowloon. In the 1960s I had a girlfriend in Vancouver, who's grandfather owned a yacht built by WS Bailey in 1908. I remembered it because of the brass plaque mounted in the wheelhouse. I asked my grandfather about it and he said he'd met Bailey and that he was well known in HK circles. The Yacht was a teak hull motor vessel of about 60 feet. Her name at the time was "Pride of the West" and she was berthed at the West Vancouver Yacht Club. I don't know what became of her, but she was a fine ship in those days.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I live in Canada but my family, though British, were born and raised in Hong Kong and Kowloon. In the 1960s I had a girlfriend in Vancouver, who's grandfather owned a yacht built by WS Bailey in 1908. I remembered it because of the brass plaque mounted in the wheelhouse. I asked my grandfather about it and he said he'd met Bailey and that he was well known in HK circles. The Yacht was a teak hull motor vessel of about 60 feet. Her name at the time was "Pride of the West" and she was berthed at the West Vancouver Yacht Club. I don't know what became of her, but she was a fine ship in those days.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I live in Canada and remember a yacht built by WS Bailey in 1908. It was owned by a family in West Vancouver, BC and called "Pride of the West" back in the 1960s. My family was British but born and raised in Honk Kong and I remember asking my Grandfather about it at the time. He told me that he knew Bailey in Kowloon. The yacht was about 60 feet, teak hull and powered by diesel engine. I was fortunate to spend a week aboard visiting the Seattle Worlds Fair in 1962 and returning via the San Juan Islands to Vancouver over the following week. She was a fine vessel.

    ReplyDelete

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