In August 1850, two enterprising Scots, Thomas Ash Lane and Ninian Crawford, set up a shop
in a makeshift bamboo structure along Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. They traded, auctioned and sold
provisions to visiting ships’ crews as well as British Navy staff and their families. Within
a year the partners opened their first permanent premises, becoming the
colony’s first department store.
Since that time, Lane Crawford has occupied and been synonymous with the iconic thoroughfares of Des Voeux Road and Queen’s Road Central. Its name has reached further afield; from Hong Kong to Canton, Shanghai and Tianjin in China, to Tokyo, Kobe and Yokohama in Japan. It has served as a baker, tailor, outfitter, draper, provisions dealer, wine and spirits merchant, antiques auctioneer, wharf and steamboat operator, restaurateur and bar owner.
Throughout its rich history, Lane Crawford has always served as a companion to Hong Kong's community. In good times, it provided the finer things in life. During strikes, plagues and social unrest, it provided essential services and provisions.