Kayamally Ltd. -- fabric company [????- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Kayamally Ltd. -- fabric company [????- ]

Name: 
Kayamally Ltd. -- fabric company
Type: 
Business
Status: 
Active

Does anyone remember anything about Kayamally Ltd., a fabric company in Hong Kong which existed until around the late 1980s?  The owner and employees were members of the South Asian community.  I had been to the store (in the company-owned building) on Queen's Road Central in the early 1980s, but don't remember much.  The company is mentioned in Chapter 1074 of the Laws of Hong Kong.  Any information is appreciated.

Photos that show this organisation

Comments

Hi C,

A quick search in Google Books turns up a man and a building with that name. Where else have you looked already? Can you give a bit more description about what type of information you're looking for?

Regards, David

Hi there,

Googling Kayamally Limited yielded an entry in the Indian Directory HK.  That means the coompany is likely still be around.  To confirm one had either to check on the phone/address listed, or check it out through the Company Registrar with a fee.

Best Regards,

T

Hello David and T,

Thank you for your input!  I want to find out more about the history of South Asian communities in Hong Kong.  It seems that there are fewer South Asian companies with a long history nowadays, and Kayamally is one company I remember.  I e-mailed them a couple of years ago and was told that a relative of the owner was compiling the history of the company, but I was not able to establish contact afterwards.

Hello C,

I have collected some history about Hong Kong from primary sources and Kayamally has been of interest to me. Its origins hark back to 19th century Hong Kong. Two Indian muslim entrepreneurs from Gujarat state and of the Dawoodi Bohra Shiah Ismaili faith emigrated to HK circa 1860 and set up a fabric retailing business. Extraordinarily successful in a short period of time, they ended up buying up quite a bit of land around Hk and Kowloon, including the corner of Nathan and Salisbury Roads, now known as the Sheraton Hotel. In the present day, these  interests have been disposed of. Probably best known was the Kayamally Building at 22 Queen's Rd Central, sold by the remnants of the family in 1987 to the owners of neighboring Shell House, as it was known then.  The family interests remain in Hong Kong but in sharply truncated form ; many have emigrated to the West. The family retains a solid reputation founded on reliability and trustworthiness. This is alluded to in Jean Gittin's autobiographical history of Hong Kong in which she recounts "Mr Kayamally's" thoughtfulness in returning to her after the War all the family jewellery she asked him to store in the kayamally vault for safekeeping against Japanese gendarmes.

 

Hope this helps.

Hello hnh,

Thank you very much for the information!  I had no idea they were the owner of land at prime locations.  South Asian communities are an integral part of Hong Kong, and there are a lot of stories worth discovering.

From the book "In the Web" page 73. The Kayamally Building at Queen's Road Central, was designed by George Hall, father of Peter Hall

Dear TonyLam,

Can you provide more details about this book "In the Web" , such as author and publisher. I cannot find it on amazon.Would love to read more.Where can I get it?

hnh

Rt

Rt,

you can search in gwulo "in the web" the author is Peter Hall. A second edition is coming. I read this book in HKU library, you can go to HKU library's web site and under Dragon, you can search by title "In the Web" . More details will come out

 

Tony

 

Hi hnh,

Please see the last two entries of this thread.

Some info about the book (2nd edition):

ISBN: 9781906205836
Title: In the Web
Author: Hall, Peter
Publisher: Appin Press
Format: Paperback, 237 pages
Publication Date: Jan. 2012

By the way, anything new about Kayamally?  I will try e-mailing the owner again and see how the history book is coming along.

Hi C,

You previously asked me about if I have come across information about Kayamally:

https://gwulo.com/node/36052

I choose now to reply on this thread to keep on topic. I am going through the records of the Muslim Cemetery at Happy Valley on familysearch.org and under the banner of 'Inscriptions 1849-1953' and after a list of grave inscriptions, it started listing businesses with South Asian connections. It mentioned 'Kayamally + Co.. milliners drapers + comm agents 5 D'aguilar St + 99A Willington St.'. (sic.)

I don't have a date but I think the list refers to the period about 1914. I think the list was compiled around 1983. 

 

Also the following:

'Hoosainali + Co. general drapers, milliner + mercs - 1C d'Aguilar St.'

'Hoosainali Abdeali' (sic.)

 

Hope its useful information in some small way.

David

Hi David,

Thank you very much for the useful information!  I was told some years ago that the history of Kayamally was being written by a family member.  Hopefully this had happened.

Do you plan to publish your findings on the Indian Muslim families in Hong Kong?

 

Came across another reference to Hoosenally:

I.L. 390 – Crown Lease 17 Mar 1855, Sheik Hasan Ally and Shaik Ameer

I.L. 391 – ibid

               27 Oct. 1857, I.L. 391, I.L. 390 $300, Shaik Hassan Ally and Shaik Ameer, traders (their mark) to Shaik Madar and Fuckeera Mahomed, traders.

               Witness: Abdool Rozak, trader. (sic)

 

Fustratingly the person who commpiled the data (this is just a small example of a long list) did not state its source.

I am still in the embryonic stage of collecting data (I am more about the individual and family history) and I no longer live in HK so getting my hands on primary documents is well out of reach. No concrete plans to publish atm. There are books, articles etc published already on the topic in a more panoramic sense over time (I have yet to read them all!) 

Let me know what you are looking for wrt Kayamally Ltd 

Gio

Hi Gio,

I am interested in the history of South Asian people in Hong Kong and would like to find out more about the history of Kayamally from its founding as a fabric store in the 1860s to the present day. It would be great if you can share some information. Thank you!

I contacted the Mr. Mannan Najmee in 2009 and was told that the fabric store closed almost 20 years prior. The last managing director, Mr. S. K. Hoosenally (son of Kayamally Hoosenally and uncle of Mr. Najmee), passsed away 4 years prior. A cousin of Mr. Najmee was compiling the history of the company. However, I was not able to establish contact with Mr. Najmee afterwards.

I wonder if hnh and eurasian_david who commented in this thread have uncovered more about the company's history.

Thank you!

C, have you got or tried getting a copy of the book 'Turbans and Traders' (1994) by Barbara-Sue White which looks at the South Asian community in Hong Kong? There are mentions of Kayamally, individual profiles and photographs etc. I think it's right up your street although the information is general. 

Hi eurasian_david,

Thank you for the suggestion. I read the book many years ago but did not notice mention of Kayamally. Perhaps I should re-read it. If you come across other resources on this topic, please let us know.

Kayamally's and Hoosenally family pages 49, 51, 56, 71

There is a whole profile on Noeman Hoosenally on pages 70-71. 

Kayamally family page 77

In the run of black and white photos between the pages of 86 and 87 there is a great crystal clear photo of the Bohra Muslim men in the Queen's Road shop of Kayamally and Co. which was taken by the then 14 year old Noeman Hoosenally in 1934

 

And also just for the record of this thread/gwulo node - Kayamally was established in 1885 by Noeman's grandfather who started out as an itinerant pedlar selling cloth from door to door in Hong Kong's early days. It went throguh several name changes initially before being known as Kayamally and Co. from 1st March 1903. The firm's best years were 1962-1964. 

 

Hi eurasian_david,

Wow, there is quite a bit. I must not have been paying attention when I read it, or don't remember (it was more than 20 years ago). Thanks a lot!

As mentioned above, my father George Albert Victor Hall (1897-1956) designed Kayamally Building, 22 Queen's Road, Central, where his architectural firm Way & Hall was located. After finishing school in Sydney at the end of 1952, I worked in his office until I departed for the UK in July 1954. I well remember Norman Hoosenally, whose family owned the building.

Hello Mr. Hall,

Thank you for the information.  I believe that by the 1980s, the 1928 building designed by your father was already demolished.  Is the building the third from the left in this photograph (https://gwulo.com/atom/19185)?

I have some photos about the shops. Just tidied up my mom's stuffs and finding those photos. My mom worked in the shop as a sales lady over 40 years in the Tsimshatsui shop and 22 Queen's Road Central then. Don't know how to send you the photos. 

Hi SusieC, thank you!  Perhaps you can follow these instructions to upload the photos?   I vaguely remember how the Central shop looks like in the 1980s, but it would be great to see some photos.  Did your mother talk much about her experience with the company?

Hi Susie

I worked one summer at the shop on Queen's Road and I know all the girls there, they were so much fun and also kind enough to teach me. I would love to see the photographs!!

Mannan Najmee passed away in 2014. 

69A67A41-8C4B-49BC-9FCA-74BCA030B13E.jpeg
69A67A41-8C4B-49BC-9FCA-74BCA030B13E.jpeg, by Susiec

Tsui Chung Choy is the name of the tailor. 

Hi Gioiello, I am sorry to hear that Mr. Mannan Najmee passed away.

Thanks SusieC for posting a photo of the box.  I look forward to photos of the interior of the shops.  The Chinese name of Tsui Chung Choy as written on the box is 徐忠財.