In August 1850, two enterprising Scots, Thomas Ash Lane and Ninian Crawford, set up a shop
in a makeshift bamboo structure on Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour that traded, auctioned and sold
provisions to visiting ships’ crews as well as British Navy staff and their families. Within
its first year, the business expanded and opened a permanent premises, becoming the British
Colony’s first department store.
Since that time, Lane Crawford has occupied a number of landmarks along Des Voeux Road and Queen’s Road Central, and has ventured afar — from Hong Kong to Canton, Shanghai and Tianjin in China, and to Tokyo, Kobe and Yokohama in Japan. It has been a baker, tailor, outfitter, draper, provisions dealer, wine and spirits merchant, antiques auctioneer, wharf and steamboat operator, restaurateur and bar owner.
Throughout its history, Lane Crawford has always held a prominent place in the Hong Kong community. In good times, it provided the finer things in life. During strikes, plagues and social unrest, it provided essential services and provisions.