Episode 15 - Going sailing: The crew of the Kitten

Imperialist Britain spread modern-style, rules governed, organized sport – very much the creation of a newly leisured, comparatively affluent early Victorian world – all over the world. One of those sports, though never up there in popularity and participation like football and cricket, was sailing. Hong Kong was a home for recreational sailing almost as soon as the British grabbed it in 1841. It also became a home of local Chinese boatbuilders who learned to build – and often improve – Western designs. Via a fellow Hong Kong sailor, a few years ago I was given access to a late 19th century yacht’s logbook from Xiamen. It opened up the world of 19th century expats in China, of the building of western style boats in 19th century Hong Kong…and revealed how Waglan lighthouse was built by a relation of Charles Rolls of Rolls Royce, who also designed a royal palace in Seoul, South Korea.