Ho Hung-hei, 'King of Umbrella', dies at 87

July 23, 2015 11:50
Ho Hung-hei (inset) opened his shop Ho Hei Kee on Peel Street in Central in the 1950s. Photos: Google Map, Headline Daily

Ho Hung-hei, Hong Kong's "King of Umbrella", died on Monday. He was 87.

His funeral has been set for the end of August, Headline Daily reported on Wednesday.

Ho, who was known for his skills in making and repairing umbrellas, was born in 1928 in the mainland and moved to Hong Kong when he was still a kid.

He started as an apprentice in an umbrella factory before he decided to ride his bicycle through the city's streets to repair umbrellas in the 1930s.

In the 1950s, he opened his shop, Ho Hei Kee, on Peel Street in Central and had been working there since. He retired last year. 

He gained fame in 1994, when a foreigner asked Ho to make an umbrella out of cow leather as no other umbrella maker would take on the difficult job.

Ho accepted the challenge, and was able to do it to the great admiration of the customer.

Later, it was learned that the umbrella was sold in the United States for 167 pounds (US$260). As a result, Ho became a Guinness World Record holder for having made what was then the most expensive umbrella.

After that, many high-ranking officials and celebrities came to him for his hand-crafted umbrellas, including the British Queen and members of her royal family.

Some of Ho's works are still exhibited in a museum at the Windsor Castle.

None of his sons had wanted to succeed him in his business. And so the Umbrella King had told them to donate the hundreds of umbrellas in his shop when he died, the report said.

-- Contact us at [email protected]