The Louis T.Leonowens House in Lampang
The “Louis House” (บ้านหลุยส์) is the former residence of Louis T. Leonowens and office of the Louis T.Leonowens company. It is located in the “forestry” neighbourhood of Lampang, not far from the Wang River and the iconic Rachadapisek Bridge. Louis (1856-1919) was the son of Anna Leonowens, the British teacher to the children of the King Mongkut (Rama IV), made famous by the musical and movie The King and I. From 1884 onwards he got involved in the teak trade, working for the British Borneo Company. In 1905 Louis founded his own company. Apart from teak logging the company also became an agent for imported whisky, champagne, cement, typewriters, engineering products, and so forth.
According to one of my sources he lived in this house until he sold the company. The company didn’t have an office in Chiang Mai. Its head office upcountry was in Lampang. Staff were stationed in Raheng (Tak), Paknampo (Nakhon Sawan), Sukhotai and Sawankalok. The head office was in London, the country office in Bangkok. The Leonowens Company is still active today as a trading company. It still has an office in Bangkok.
The Leonowens company was smaller than its main competitors, the Borneo Company and the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. We have visited the house several times of the past few years. There are indications that the Forestry Department that owns the house has plans to make repairs to the house. It would be very nice if the house would become a museum on the logging industry in Lampang. Louis himself is known as a colorful character. He spoke fluent Thai and people have described him as being and behaving like a Thai person. He was apparently a friend of King Rama V, Chulalongkorn. He is also one of the founding members of the Gymkhana Sports Club in Chiang Mai. You can read more about the life of Louis here.
We visit the house on our Authentic Lanna tour.