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The Peak, Hong Kong. Photograph by John Thomson, 1868/1871.

J. Thomson

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
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Credit: The Peak, Hong Kong. Photograph by John Thomson, 1868/1871. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Description

Sedan chair in Hong Kong, 1868-71. Until the introduction of the rickshaw in 1870, the sedan chair was the only form of public conveyance in Hong Kong. There were chair stands outside hotels, at major crossroads and by the wharfs. Public chairs were licensed and charged according to tariffs that were prominently displayed. The majority of chairs were kept fairly clean and in good condition, and the sturdy bearers would clamour for the favour of a client's regular patronage. Private chairs existed too, obvious markers of wealth and status. Even after the appearance of the rickshaw, the sedan chair continued to be one of the most important modes of transportation, since it was more suitable for the steep terrain of Hong Kong Island. In 1920 the number of sedan chairs peaked: about 1,215 registered ones were on the road. It was not until 1965 that the last sedan chair was reportedly abandoned there.

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Bears Thomson's negative number: "11" Signed.

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