[as appeared in Ahoy!, September 2023]
Words: Lucy Sutro, Commodore
Our Club has a very rich heritage, tracing its roots to Hong Kong’s earliest colonial history. We have played a key role in the development of our sports in the region and are a leader amongst sailing clubs globally. Our members have come from all walks of life, and each has an interesting story to tell. Our history is an important part of who we are, so it’s important to capture as much as we can so that future members understand how the club and its traditions developed to be the excellent institution we know and love.
In the 1990s the Club commissioned Gillian Chambers to write a history of the Club called Eastern Waters, Eastern Winds. It was published in 1993 in time for the centenary of the granting of the Royal Charter to the Club in 1994.
In the three decades since that project there has been no formal policy in capturing and telling our history, although a great deal of work was undertaken in an unofficial capacity by Bob Wilson, Ulrike Weckler and Koko Mueller. Between them they continued to research our history, collect papers and artifacts and have scanned a significant amount of data onto the Club’s website which can be found hereand here. In addition, Denis Martinet, our Immediate Past Commodore interviewed a number of our senior members in 2022.
Toward the end of 2022 a small working group of members started discussing how best to restart this project; to both adopt, expand, and formalise the work carried out by Bob, Ulrike and Koko. As part of their fact finding over several months, they spoke to a number of organisations and institutions both in Hong Kong and also globally and received some very helpful advice. In April they submitted a project plan (“The History Project”), to pick up where the 1994 book left off and build on the other work that's been done since then, to the General Committee who, recognising the importance of more formally capturing the club's history and artefacts related to it, agreed to the proposal.
Overall, the project will include:
• Interviewing and recording the senior members to capture their memories of the club, key events, personalities, etc.
• Engaging a specialist heritage and archives consultant to help guide the Club in terms of how to catalogue the archives and advise on appropriate storage and preservation methods and establish procedures for the future management of the archives.
• Creating permanent and ad hoc displays of artifacts.
• The adoption of a formal Club archive policy.
The next steps are already underway; we have set up a plan to interview our more senior members and hope that by the time this article goes to print, we will have engaged the consultant who will help us set up a formal archive structure.
Finally, I would like to thank the members who have helped bring this project to where it is today: Koko Mueller, Rob Stoneley and Mark Welles.
Do you have items you think would be suitable for the Club’s archives?
If you or your family have any Club memorabilia which you would like to donate to the Club’s archives?
Do you have any stories of your time at the Club which you would like to tell us?
Do you want to get involved?
Do you have specialist skills in archiving or are you a historian?
If so, then please contact Koko at email@example.com talk to her about how you may be able to help or to see if the items you have will fill any gaps we have in our archives.