Contract passage ticket issued by the British India Steam Navigation Company

Established in 1862, the origins of the British India Steam Navigation Company (BI) can be traced to the founding of the Calcutta and Burmah Steam Navigation Company in 1856 by Scotsman William Mackinnon in his bid to secure the government contract for delivering official mails between Calcutta and the Burmese rice ports. This contract passage ticket was a legal undertaking made by a passage broker to a passenger, an ‘amah’ (house nanny) named Ho How Kwai from Hong Kong, guaranteeing her passage to Singapore on the steamer Sangola. Besides stating the sum received from the passenger, the contract also stipulated the minimum amount of space she was to be allocated on board the vessel based on legislative requirements stated in the Asiatic Emigration Ordinance of 1915.