Douglas Steamship Company, Ltd., Hong Kong, 1883-1976
Douglas Lapraik (1818-1869) who started his Hong Kong career as a watchmaker's apprentice, in 1860 founded a steamship company which ran the south China coast. By the time of his death in 1869 Douglas Lapraik owned seven steamships.
In 1866 Douglas Lapraik retired from his company and his nephew J.S. Lapraik took over as a director. J.S. Lapraik took two partners and continued the company as Douglas Lapraik & Co.
The cession of Taiwan to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895 which ended the Sino-Japanese War, struck the company a heavy blow.
Fortunately, in 1900 and 1901, satisfactory earnings were made by chartering several ships to the British Government and later to the American Government due to the Boxer uprising in China. The Taiwan trade was a lost cause and the company withdrew from it.
The outbreak of open warfare between China and Japan in 1937 was nearly the end of shipping around the China coast and the company started trading between Hong Kong and the Treaty Ports. Also the ships were redeployed, as well as was possible.
1. Douglas Lapraik's father, George Rankine Lapraik, 1783-1838, married Susan Black b1790 in St George Hanover Square, London, as were many members of the Douglas family. Where the family link is, i have yet to discover.
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Last modified: Tuesday, 14 May 2013