Leigh & Orange Founding

Submitted by Herostratus on Fri, 04/20/2018 - 14:21

Everything I have read has Leigh & Orange being founded in 1874 as Sharp & Danby. However, as far as i can see, Sharp & Danby was not founded until the 1st April 1879. (The partnership was dissolved in 1881)


W Danby is listed as late as 1878 being employed as a Draftsman & Clerk of Works in the Surveyor General's Department. Does anyone have any evidence that Danby started a firm in 1874 or should the founding date of Leigh & Orange be 1st April 1879.

Agreed, 1879 looks to be the right date. Page 275 of Old Hong Kong by Colonial has further confirmation:

In December 1873, Mr. Danby was appointed to the Surveyor General’s office in this Colony and on arrival here took charge of the detailed surveys and borings for the Tytam waterworks and other public works which to-day stand as memorials to his ability. In February 1879, he resigned the Government service and commenced private practice, being chiefly concerned in the erection of sugar refineries and other works connected with the local dockyards

According to page 61, "Matilda: her life and Legacy" by Smith, Joyce Stevens :

By 1874 Granville had taken on a partner - William Danby, a draftsman in the Surveyor General's office ---- and the firm became Sharp & Danby. Mr. Danby was architect and civil engineer for Granville's property developments, and the workload became too heavy that he had to resign his government post in 1879. The partnership was dissolved by mutual consent in 1881, when Danby set up on his own, subsequently taking on Robert Leigh and James Orange as partners. So began today's firm of Leigh & Orange, architects and surveyors."

Hi Tony, I have seen this passage in a number of places, however I have not seen any primary sources or evidence that is it actually true. It is possible that as both Granville and Sharp were Masons there was some sort of informal partnership which was only formalized in 1879 but i have yet to find anything confirming any pre 1879 partnership.

Salient points observed from his obituary In December 1873,  Danby was appointed Assistant to the Surveyor General. In February 1879, he resigned from government service and commenced private practice.Nothing here indicates that there was a formal partnership between Danby and Sharp in 1874. Appears that the same information here has been used in other sources.