Sze Cheung Wood Shop is a century-old woodwork shop located across the street from Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market. The owner, Louis Ho, is the fourth-generation that runs the shop. 


The Meaning behind ''泗祥號'' (Sze Cheung Wood Shop)

Photo Source: 泗祥號 Sze Cheung Facebook 

The name of the shop, "泗祥號" (Sze Cheung), originated from the hometown of Louis's Grandpa - Beijiao Town in Foshan City of Guangdong Province, China. The town was surrounded by four streams, which is why "泗" (Sze) represents the Ho Family's hometown. The character "祥" (Cheung) symbolized good fortune or auspiciousness.


A Little Bit History of Sze Cheung Wood Shop

Photo Source: Yahoo News


Since 1860, Yau Ma Tei has been the most prosperous Chinese commercial district on the Kowloon Peninsula, with numerous shops and an inseparable relationship was established with ships due to its status as a typhoon shelter. Apart from shipbuilding, making hemp cables, and fishing nets, there were also shops which specialized in selling ship equipment. Sze Cheung Wood Shop was one such shop that began its journey with the production of ship equipment.


Sze Cheung Wooden Pulley/ "律囉" 

Photo Source: The Collective HK 


One of their main wooden products is the "律囉" (pronounced as "Lut Lo"), wooden pulleys used on ships to hoist and lower heavy cargo. Louis Ho explained that when making wooden pulley, they first shape the wooden block with iron tools and then embed the wood into it, this process requires precise calculations and high level of accuracy to ensure that the axle can pass through both holes and the hole in the wooden block. Any misalignment would result in remaking.

The largest wooden pulley can weigh up to 10 pounds (around 4.5 kg). During the peak season in the 1950s, they could receive over 10 orders a day, however, only one wooden pulley could be completed in a day due to the high complexity of production. As a result, the delivery time usually takes up to more than 10 days.


Sze Cheung Wooden Mallets

Photo Source: Yahoo News

With the decline of the fishing industry,  Sze Cheung Wood Shop underwent transformation, diversifying into making wooden rings to secure central air conditioning ducts. Nowadays, Louis Ho also uses a lathe to craft wooden mallets, which are widely used in auction and massage therapy.

Changes of Times

Photo Source: The Collective HK


As the times changed, Yau Ma Tei evolved from a typhoon shelter into a bustling street. Sze Cheung Wooden Product is now the only surviving store specializing in ship equipment and wooden products in Hong Kong. Like many other old shops, they face challenges in maintaining their existence due to rising rents and urban renewal. Furthermore, with aging craftsmen retiring and no new successors, many old shops have experienced declining business.

However, thanks to Father Ho's wise decisions and luck, Louis Ho's family could continue their business. Their story shows that in today's society, traditional old shops need to adapt and change timely to sustain their legacy.


Louis's Determination

Photo Source: The Collective HK


Louis expressed his determination to uphold the legacy of his family's old shop until the end. If one day, Yau Ma Tei faces urban redevelopment, he would face the reality delightfully with honor and retire gracefully.