Mark of C.E. Warren & Co. Monumental masons. Photo © William Fell 2011 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Mark of C.E. Warren & Co. Monumental masons. Photo © William Fell 2011

Mark of C.E. Warren & Co. Monumental masons. Photo © William Fell 2011
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Thursday, November 17, 2011


From the SCMP, mention is made of C. E. Warren & Co. here

Many thanks to moddsey for picking out this 2016 article of Jason Wordie’s which contains details about the export of gravestones by my grandfather’s company, C.E. Warren & Co.:

By the 1920s, power tools had dramatically reduced the production costs of ornate stone memorials, enabling a gravestone export industry to grow in Hong Kong. Most were produced by C.E. Warren and Co, which started out making pipes, tiles and sanitary fittings, but soon moved into this profitable niche. Marble graves in cemeteries from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur are fitted with small metal plates bearing the legend C.E. Warren and Co, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

An SCMP article of 11 July 1921 bears this out:

We congratulate Messrs. CE Warren and Company on having succeeded in polishing Hong Kong Granite. Hitherto the granite obtained from local quarries has always been considered too brittle to serve the purposes of a decorative pedestal, but a monument with the panels brought to a high state of glossiness and lettering likewise brought out in relief at its base is on display at the shop of the company at Des Voeux Road Central. By the process of special machinery, the surface of the granite which is of rough grain has been toned down to a uniform level and resembles glass in its smoothness.

The earliest grave with the CEW imprint in the Colonial Cemetery recorded by Patricia Lim is that of Kathleen Kew in 1905. All the “CEW HK” imprints that I’ve found in the Happy Valley cemeteries are engraved directly into the marble. I’d be interested to see a metal plaque if there are any in Hong Kong. I knew that my grandfather’s company exported the tiles that they manufactured, but I had no idea that they exported gravestones as well. The Causeway Bay address on the metal plaques presumably refers to Warren Street which led to the company tile works and was probably built by the company as it housed many of the tile workers themselves.