Hong Kong Chemical Factory Kowloon 1930's.jpg

Fri, 01/21/2022 - 17:48

What kind of factory was this ?

Date picture taken


ICI was a famous British chemical company. It has a wiki page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Chemical_Industries) but no mention of operations in HK in there. The company is defunct (bought out in 2008 by AkzoNobel), but its old history can be read here (If you click on a decade, the relevant text is loaded underneath.) 

In the 1920's their "principal products of the new company included chemicals, explosives and accessories, fertilisers, insecticides, dyestuffs, non-ferrous metals and paints." 
In the 1930s: plastics including polythene and perspex as well as pharmaceuticals.

In HK, the name of the company is known as XX卜內門XX有限公司, as shown in the photo

卜內門 is the transliteration of Brunner, Mond & Company Ltd., one of the 4 companies that merged to form ICI.

The signs read like:

xxxxxx commercial chemical industries CO., LIMITED.

It probably didn't make any chemicals in Hong Kong. They were mainly made in Britain and stored in the godowns in Hong Kong. The building in the picture is likely a godown. They had godowns on Hennessy road and Patterson street. They were sold long time ago in the 40s and 50s.


There was a row of warehouses like this on Bowrington Praya between Tin Lok lane and Tonnochy Road shown in the below photo:

Bowrington Praya looking South West
Bowrington Praya looking South West , by Herostratus

By the 1930s there was only a couple left on what is now Hennessy Road

Hennessy Road 1933
Hennessy Road 1933, by Herostratus

I think the picture was taken from the new houses built on the 1920s reclamation on the north side of Hennessy Road looking southeast

A news report in 1947 reports the conversion of ICI godowns into residential buildings. It mentioned the location of ICI godowns was on the right hand side of Kwong Sang Hong godowns. It is known from a report on a 1940 fire involving Kwong Sang Hong godowns. Their address was given as 296-298 Hennessy road. Today it is the Kwong Sang Hong building with the 298 computer zone on lower floors. (Note that Kwong Sang Hong also had godowns at Gloucester-Tonnochy junction just opposite the Tonnochy stone pier even before the YMT ferry built their pier there.)

That means ICI godowns address should be close to  294 Hennessey road.


1947-7-31 卜內門倉庫改建民房.png
1947-7-31 卜內門倉庫改建民房.png, by simtang


1940 fire 廣生行 .png
1940 fire 廣生行 .png, by simtang