The disappearing assistant | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong
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The disappearing assistant

The number of Assistants on the Jurors Lists dropped from 479 to 265 over just two years. Did they all go to that great photocopier in the sky?

Fortunately, no. Instead, the people compiling the 1896 list took more interest in a juror's occupation, instead of just accepting the general description "Assistant". It's good news for us, as we get a clearer picture of who was doing what at the time.

We've already noted that two of the big businesses in 1894 were sugar and ships. The 1896 list confirms it:

  • First we find twelve jurors with the new job title, "Sugar Boiler".
  • Second is a large group of engineers with "Foreman" in their job title. The 1894 list only had one: "Foreman Engineer". By '96 there are 27 people reporting "Foreman something" as their occupation, where the "something" includes Blacksmiths, Sawyers, Shipwrights, and our old friend the Moulder.

Entertainments took a hit, with the four people in the piano trade dropping to one. As a small compensation, a Fiddler joins the list for the first time. I'm also a little disappointed to see the single "Teacher of Officers and Engineers" leave the lists. Surely he brought a little extra class to the proceedings?

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Here's the full comparison. As background, the 1894 list had 726 jurors, while the 1896 list had increased to 787. The top three titles in each year were:

  • 1894: Assistant @ 66%, Merchant @ 9.4%, Broker @ 4.3%
  • 1896: Assistant @ 34%, Clerk @ 22%, Merchant @ 8.8%
1894 1896 Title
1 2 <none>
3 6 Accountant
1 1 Acting Agent
  1 Acting Chief Accountant
  1 Acting General Manager
  2 Acting Secretary
  1 Acting Sub-Accountant
6 4 Agent
4 3 Architect
1   Architect & Surveyor
479 265 Assistant
1 1 Assistant Compradore
1 1 Assistant Manager
1   Assistant Secretary
  1 Assistant Works Manager
1 2 Auctioneer
  2 Bar-keeper
  1 Barman
2 2 Bill and Bullion Broker
1 1 Bill Broker
1   Boiler-maker
  7 Book-keeper
1 4 Bookseller
31 30 Broker
  1 Broker and Merchant
  1 Butcher
  2 Cashier
1 2 Chemist
1   Chief Accountant
2 5 Chief Clerk
1 1 Chief Manager
4 4 Civil Engineer
  171 Clerk
2   Commission Agent
1 2 Commission Merchant
4 9 Compradore
1   Consulting Engineer
1 3 Draughtsman
  1 Electrical Engineer
1 1 Electrician
7 11 Engineer
1 1 Estate Agent
  1 Fiddler
  4 Foreman
  1 Foreman Blacksmith
  4 Foreman Boilermaker
  1 Foreman Clerk
  1 Foreman Coppersmith
1 4 Foreman Engineer
  1 Foreman Joiner
  1 Foreman Mason
  1 Foreman Moulder
  1 Foreman Sawyer
  1 Foreman Shipbuilder
  5 Foreman Shipwright
  2 Foreman Turner
1 1 General Agent
  1 Godown-Keeper
1   Gunmaker
2 2 Gunner
1 1 Harbour Engineer
1 2 Hotel Keeper
1   House Owner
1 2 Innkeeper
  1 Inspector
  1 Interpreter
  3 Jeweller
1   Liquidator
  1 Lloyd's Surveyor
  1 Local Manager
1 1 Local Secretary
18 27 Manager
2 2 Marine Superintendent
2 2 Marine Surveyor
68 69 Merchant
1   Moulder
1 1 Music Master
1 1 Outfitter
  2 Part Proprietor
2 2 Photographer
1   Piano Dealer
2 1 Pianoforte Tuner
1   Pianoforte
1   Plumber
  1 Preventive Officer
1 1 Professor of Music
5 6 Proprietor
  1 Representative
  1 Resident Manager
  1 Runner
14 12 Secretary
  2 Ship Chandler
5 6 Ship-broker
2   Shipwright
  1 Shroff
1 1 Steward
3 3 Stock-broker
8 13 Storekeeper
1 3 Sub-Accountant
1 1 Sub-Manager
  12 Sugar Boiler
4 6 Superintendent
1 1 Superintendent Engineer
  1 Supt.Fitting Dep.
1   Surveyor
  1 Tailor
1   Teacher of Officers and Engineers
  4 Timekeeper
  1 Trader
2 2 Veterinary Surgeon
2   Watchmaker
1 1 Wharfinger