Thursday, November 26, 2009 | By: rudi butt

Famous Scotsmen in Hong Kong

Updated (partial) on September 5, 2012

Here are some of the more familiar names, ...

Robert Black
Robert Black 柏立基

b.1906, Edinburgh – d.1999, Reading, Berkshire; 23rd Governor of Hong Kong (1958-1964); educated at George Watson's College, University of Edinburgh; entered Colonial Service after school and was stationed in Malaya and Trinidad; commissioned into the Intelligence Corps assisting in guerrilla resistance against Japanese in North Borneo, captured by the Japanese in 1942 and spent the remainder of WWII in prison camp in Malaya; Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong (1952-1955); 3rd Governor of Singapore (1955-1957). Major events took place during his tenure as governor: economic boom led by rapid growth in the manufacturing sector; large influx of illegal immigrants from China and the introduction of “Government Low Cost Housing Scheme” in 1962; severe drought while at worst in June, 1963, water available for only 4 hours once every 4 days; the opening of the City Hall and the first Public Library (first city hall built on public funding); the establishment of the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1963.

1893 photo of James Cantlie teaching at the
Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese
James Cantlie 康德黎

b.1851, Banffshire - d.1926, London [1]; came to Hong Kong to take up position as Dean of the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese in 1888, taught Dr. Sun Yat Sen (graduate of 1892), co-founded the British Medical Association (Hong Kong Branch) in 1890, led a campaign in releasing Dr. Sun who was kidnapped in London by Qing China officials in 1896, returned to London to practice in 1897, established the Journal of Tropical Medicine in 1898, founded the London School of Tropical Medicine in 1899, founded the Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1907, authored “Physical Efficiency” (published in 1906) and co-authored “Sun Yat Sen and the Awakening of China” (published in 1912), authored the first British Red Cross first aid, training and nursing manuals in 1911.
[1] Obituary (Nature*, June 12, 1926) - Sir James Cantlie, K.B.E.

The death on May 28 of Sir James Cantlie, at the age of seventy-five years, removes from our midst a man of originality and untiring energy, and a ready writer and speaker. In his early days he was demonstrator of anatomy and assistant surgeon and later surgeon to the Charing Cross Hospital, but most of his life work outside his practice, whether in London, Hongkong, or again in London, was devoted to teaching and pioneering in unexplored fields of medical education.

*Nature is an international weekly journal of science that began to publish in 1869)
John Cowperthwaite, praised as the architect of
Hong Kong's prosperity
John James Cowperthwaite 郭伯偉 (1915 Edinburgh -2006 Dundee)

Economist, Financial Secretary of Hong Kong (1961-1971), responsible for creating Hong Kong's dynamic economy. Education: Merchiston Castle School, read classics at the University of St. Andrews and Christ's College (Cambridge) before returning to St. Andrews to study economics, under the influence of Wilkie Nisbet (1903-1974); joined the Colonial Service in Hong Kong in 1941, but spent three years in Sierra Leone while Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese; returned to Hong Kong at the end of the WWII to assist in economic recovery, rising to become Financial Secretary in 1961; a champion of laissez-faire economics, he removed import and export controls, and balanced the colony's budget, while reducing taxes and encouraging the natural entrepreneurship of the Hong Kong people; his lack of intervention and promotion of free enterprise has been criticized principally because of growing corruption, poor social services and the lack of housing for immigrants, although the export success of Hong Kong's businesses certainly reduced poverty; retired in 1971 and lived in St. Andrew; served as an international advisor to Jardine Fleming, the Hong Kong-based investment bank (1971-1981). This was written as the introduction of the February 3, 2006 article on The Times praising Cowperthwaite:
“On Hong Kong’s reversion to Chinese rule, its foreign reserves stood at about $70 billion — half the amount held by China, yet accrued by a population less than 1 per cent its size…, the legacy of John Cowperthwaite,”
William Jardine

Johnston and pupil, Puyi
Reginald Fleming Johnston (1874 Edinburgh - 1938 Edinburgh)
Assistant Colonial Secretary (1899-1904) (Henry A. Blake was governor); educated at Edinburgh University and Magdalen College, Oxford; recruited as a 'cadet officer' in the Colonial Service after graduated; joined Hong Kong Civil Service in 1898; transferred to Weihaiwei in 1906 and became Senior District Officer and Magistrate until 1917; became Tutor of Puyi, the last Emperor of China in 1919 until Puyi was expelled from the Forbidden City in 1924; appointed Commissioner of Weihaiwei (1927-1930); appointed Professor of Chinese and Head of Department of Languages and Cultures of the Far East, School of Oriental Languages, London University (1931-1937).

William Keswick

Douglas Lapraik
Douglas Lapraik (1818-1869)

Came to Hong Kong in 1843 and worked as a watchmaker apprentice, became opium dealer soon after, started building docks in Aberdeen in 1857, became a member of the Provisional Committee of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Company Limited in 1864, founded the Hong Kong, Canton and Macao Steamboat Company in October 1865, co-founded the Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock Company with Thomas Sutherland in 1866, member of the inaugural Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Hotel Company in 1866, founding member of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce, donate town clock installed at the Pedder Street Clock Tower, owner of the Douglas Lapraik Castle (now the University Hall of Hong Kong University), owner of the Chinese Junk Keying which Lapraik had organized its fantastic voyage to London in 1846.

James H.S. Lockhart
James Haldane Stewart Lockhart 駱克 (1858 Argyllshire, Scotland – 1937 London)

A British colonial official in Hong Kong and China for more than 40 years; praised as one of the most intelligent, efficient, and scholarly colonial secretaries that Hong Kong has had; educated at King William's College (1868-72) and the University of Edinburgh; took a Hong Kong cadetship in 1878; arrived Hong Kong in 1879; appointed Superintendent of the Opium Revenue in 1883; Assistant Colonial Secretary and Assistant Auditor-General in August of the same year; Acting Registrar-General in 1884 and 1885; Registrar-General in 1887, a post he occupied until 1901; and Colonial Secretary in 1895, a post he combined with that of Registrar-General; appointed Rector of the College of Medicine for Chinese in 1895; appointed representative of the Government of Great Britain for the purpose of fixing the exact boundaries of the extension of the New Territories in 1899 and the subsequent occupation of the district; established civil administration headquarters for the New Territories in Tai Po; assumed the post of Civil Commissioner of Weihaiwei in 1902, one that he held for the next 19 years; well respected by the Chinese communities in Hong Kong and in Weihaiwei; became a noted sinologist after retiring from the colonial service; remembered by naming of Lockhart Road 駱克道 in Wanchai.

MacDougall during the escape
from Hong Kong
David Mercer MacDougall 麥道高 (1904 – 1991)
Brigadier Colonial Secretary (1945-1949): Cadet Officer in Hong Kong, seconded to the Colonial Office in London in 1937; assigned to the Ministry of Information and sent back to the colony shortly before the Battle of Hong Kong; escape from Aberdeen in HMS Cornflower’s motor launch before joining up with the 2nd MTB Flotilla on the South West of Ap Lei Chau; appointed head of the Hong Kong Planning Unit (established in London in August 1943, and eventually incorporated into the armed forces as civil affairs staff) in 1944 and given the rank of Brigadier; arrived back to Hong Kong in 1945 assisting Cecil Halliday Jepson Harcourt (Admiral, RN, Military Governor, Hong Kong from September 1945 to April 1946) in looking after civil administration; assumed the post of acting Governor from May to July in 1947, and the Governor’s Deputy in 1948.

Duncan MacIntosh
Duncan William MacIntosh 麥景陶

15th Commissioner of Police (1946-1953), seasoned senior officer with experience in Ireland and Malaya, a POW during WWII, was the acting Police Commissioner in Singapore prior to the appointment in Hong Kong, was very well respected for reorganizing the Kong Kong Police Force after WWII, for improving the remuneration and working condition of police personnel, additionally, he began building living quarters for the rank and file personnel in the force; the Hong Kong Police Force Pipe Band, established in 1954, adopted the color of Macintosh tartan in his memory; he was also famous for ordering the construction of a group of seven observation posts (built between 1949 and 1953) along the Shenzhen River at the border with China, dubbed MacIntosh Forts [2] 麥景陶碉堡 or Macintosh Cathedrals, the posts were built at a time when an influx of Chinese refugees from China and armed clashes between the police and refugees occurred.

Andrew Mackay
Andrew Mackay (Major General)

Scottish army officer installed as Governor of Edinburgh Castle on June 19, 2009, started his career as an Inspector in the Royal Hong Kong Police in 1979, commissioned into The King's Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) in 1982, promoted to general staff in1990. (I have to qualify that Major General Mackay is not very well-known in Hong Kong.)

Murray MacLehose

Jimmy McGregor
Jimmy McGregor 麥理覺

Came to Hong Kong in the early 1950s, Director of the General Chamber of Commerce of Hong Kong (1975-1988), established McGregor & Co in 1988, member of the Legislative Council as Chamber Legislative Council Representative (1988-1995), founding member of the Hong Kong Democratic Foundation 香港民主會, which was established in 1989, initially critical on Chris Patten's (the last colonial governor) Electoral Bill presented for voting in the Legislative Council in 1995, but changed course later on by voting for it, became close ally of Patten, appointed member of the Executive Council (1995-1997), left Hong Kong in 1997.

Patrick Manson
Patrick Manson 梅森 (1844 Aberdeenshire - 1922 London)

Parasitologist and pioneer of the tropical medicine, practiced medicine in Hong Kong between 1883 and 1889; education: University of Aberdeen (MB ChB in 1865, Ch.M. in 1866, MD and LL.D. also in 1866); went to Taiwan in 1866 to work for the Qing Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs, moved to Amoy (Xiamen) in 1871 to avoid armed conflict between China and Japan in Taiwan; imported 80 dairy cows from Scotland to Hong Kong and in 1886 established a dairy farm in Pok Fu Lam and the company Dairy Farm (牛奶公司) [4], co-founded the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese in 1888, became Chief Medical Officer of the Colonial Office in London in 1897, became the first president of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine in 1907, taught at the London School of Tropical Medicine until he retired in 1914, published his best known work - Tropical Diseases: A Manual of the Diseases of Warm Climates - in 1898.

James Matheson

John Robert Morrison

William Purves
William Purves 浦偉士 (1931 Kelso - )

Chairman and CEO of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (1986-1993), Chairman of HSBC Holdings plc from (1990-1998), education: Kelso High School; joined The National Bank of Scotland (now The Royal Bank of Scotland) in 1948 as trainee, served in the Korean War and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), joined HSBC in Hong Kong in 1954, became the bank's CEO 31 years later and its Chairman the following year, became the first Chairman of HSBC Holdings in 1990, oversaw HSBC's acquisition of Midland Bank in 1992 and hold the position of its Chairman from 1993 to 1998, appointed to Hong Kong Government's Executive Council (1987-1993), retired in 1998 and now lives in London, holds a number of advisory roles in various companies, appointed a Reuters Trustee in 1998, 1980 Chieftain of the Hong Kong St. Andrew’s Society.

Phineas Ryrie 賴里

Senior Partner of the Canton firm of Turner and Co. (a general agency firm and opium-merchant founded by Robert Turner), Senior Unofficial Member of the Legislative Council (1870-1892), inaugural Chairman of the Jockey Club [5], co-founder (with partner Alexander Finlay Smith [b]) of the High Level Tramway Company in 1885 and began building the Peak Tram that ran from Garden Road to Victoria Gap, longest serving officer in the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (5 years as Vice Chairman and 12 years as Chairman), strongly opposed government's plan to legalize gambling in 1868, investor and director of Dr. Patrick Manson's Dairy Farm Company, inaugural Chieftain (1882-1890) of the Hong Kong St. Andrew’s Society (established in 1881)

[5] Chairmen of the Hong Kong Jockey Club 1884-1941: A Succession List

Phineas Ryrie1884-1892
Paul Chater1892-1926
H.P. White1926-1929
C.Gordon S. Mackie1929-1935
M.T. Johnson1935-1939
Thomas Ernest Pearce1940-1941
The Peak Hotel [5]
Alexander Findlay Smith 亞歷山大.芬梨.史密夫

Owner of the Peak Hotel (open in 1873), worked for Scotland's Highland Railway, managed to petition the Governor John Pope-Hennessy in 1881 to introduce a new tram system that would connect Murray Barracks to Victoria Gap, approval was granted for the peak transportation scheme in 1882 but the rights to build the tram system belonged to Jardine, Matheson and Co, together with fellow Scotsman and partner, Phineas Ryrie, Smith brought Jardine's rights for $2,000 in 1885 and start building the Peak Tram that became operational in 1888, Findlay Path 芬梨徑 on the Peak is named after him.

A. G. Stephen

Chief Manager of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (1920-1924), the bronze lion that guards the bank building with his mouth open was named "Stephen" after A.G. Stephen, 1922 Chieftain of theHong Kong St. Andrew’s Society.

Frederick Stewart, second from left front row,came to Hong
Kong at the age of 26 and stayed here until he died at 53
Frederick Stewart 史釗域 (1836 Aberdeenshire – 1889 Hong Kong)

Colonial Administrator and Educator, came to Hong Kong in 1862 to take up the post of the Headmaster of the Government Central School (now the Queen's College), became inspector for all government schools in the same year, appointed Colonial Secretary from 1887 to 1890, known as the founder of Hong Kong education, spoke fluent Cantonese, the Stewart Road in Wanchai 史釗域道 is named after him.

Thomas Sutherland

David Wilson
David Clive Wilson 魏德巍 after appointment as Governor 衛奕信 (1935 Scotland - )

27th Governor of Hong Kong (1987-1992) and Sinologist; education: Keble College, Oxford, University of London, University of Hong Kong (studied Chinese); worked in the British Embassy in Beijing in 1962, quited foreign service to edit The China Quarterly at the School of Oriental and African Studies, rejoined the foreign service in 1974, became Political Adviser to the 25th Governor, Murray MacLehose from 1977 to 1981, became the head of the British side of the working group engaged in drafting the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong, happenings during his tenure as governor: the fallout in Hong Kong from the 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident, the repatriations of Vietnamese boat refugees found not to qualify for refugee status, creation of the plan to build the an airport on Lantau Island; elevated to Baron of Tillyorn, appointed President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2008 and is still holding that position.

One of the seven MacIntosh Forts, this one is
located at Pak Fu Shan 白虎山
[2] The seven MacIntosh Forts, form east to west, are: 1. Pak Kung Au 伯公坳, Sha Tau Kok, North District, 2. Kong Shan 礦山 (the only one manned by a police constable, the others are remotely controlled), Sha Tau Kok, North District, 3. Pak Fu Shan 白虎山, Sha Tau Kok, North District, 4. Nga Yiu 瓦窰, Sha Tau Kok, North District, 5. Nam Hang 南坑, Sha Tau Kok, North District, 6. Ma Tso Lung 馬草壟, Ta Kwu Ling, North District, 7. Pak Hok Chau 白鶴洲, Mai Po, Yuen Long District. All seven have been listed as Grade II historic buildings since 1997. The forts are not open to the public.


Old cowsheds of Dairy Farm in Pok Fu Lam
[4] The investors in the 1886 Dairy Farm Company were: W.H. Ray, J.B. Coughtrie, Granville Sharp [a], Phineas Ryrie (see above) and Paul Chater.

Left photo: Old cowsheds of Dairy Farm in Pok Fu Lam. The property is now owned by the University of Hong Kong and administered by the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA). In 2006, the Dairy Farm Company donated a sum of $2.2 million to HKAPA for the purpose to restore the cowsheds into a 135-seat theater, now known as the Wellcome Theatre. The theater is a part of the Bethanie campus of HKAPA.

The old Dairy Fram Depot, Lower Albert Road
The old Dairy Farm Depot, a brick and stucco building located on Lower Albert Road in Central, was built in 1892 for use as a cold storage. Dairy products as well as frozen meat imported were on sale at a retail store inside the depot from 1904. The depot was renovated and expanded in 1913 to include a meat smoking room and living quarters for the general manager. By 1916, additional facilities were added to the depot: the company's head office, a butchery, a pie-making section and a delicatessen. The Dairy Farm moved all the facilities to new locations in 1970s and the building thenceforth stayed abandoned until it was sold to the Hong Kong Fringe Club in 1984 as art venues. The building has been listed as Grade II historic building since 2001.

[5] This is the second generation Peak Hotel. The one Smith owned was a 10-room hotel converted from the residence of N. J. Ede that was called Dunheved. Smith sold the hotel to a new owner months after the Tram started running. The hotel was completely rebuilt, as shown in this postcard.
Granville Sharp
[a] Granville Sharp, land speculator, founding partner of Sharp and Danby in 1874 (predecessor of the famous international architectural and interior design practice Leigh and Orange), close associate of Paul Chater, founding member of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce, the Matilda Hospital 明德醫院 was built on Sharp's bequest and named after his wife Matilda Lincolne and, it was opened only to British, American and European patients.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | By: rudi butt

Police Force Disbanded

The following Editorial appeared on Friend of China dated May 31, 1842:-

The unprofessional conduct of the police at Hongkong has caused Pottinger (Henry Pottinger, Administrator of Hong Kong Government, later became the first Governor) to discharge the entire force and replace it with soldiers. These men have proved inadequate to the task and robberies are out of control. Hong Kong still lacks its own legislature and is fundamentally a garrison town. ..
This is the only time in the history of Hong Kong that the Police Force was summarily disbanded.
Thursday, November 19, 2009 | By: rudi butt

No Time To Get Cold Feet

The Friend of China gave this report on June 28, 1842:
An American missionary has added another pagan soul to the Lord’s fold by the simple expedient of paying $2 to the heathen to be baptized. The man-of-God, fearful that his convert might be alarmed by the water pouring over his head, engaged a couple of Hong Kong’s native policemen to hold the man’s arms. We wonder if this increases veneration for Christ.
The Rev. Jehu Lewis Shuck, co-editor of the Friend of China from 1842 to 1843, who was also the first American Baptist missionary to have gone to China, complained about this report and the widespread ridicule of Christianity amongst the foreign community.

The other co-editor John Slade responded that his informant is a well-respected merchant and beyond reproach. He justified publishing the report by adverting to increasing local reports of misjudged missionary zeal. He says, “a wise man has told us that ‘in any controversy, the instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for the truth and are merely striving for ourselves’.” Slade died thirteen months later, on August 1, 1843, from fever. I wonder what Slate would say to St. Peter, if he made it to the gate.

- END -


The first autopsy done in Hong Kong was on a woman named Nga Lok Po who died suddenly causing her relatives to suspect she had been poisoned. The inquest was held on August 15, 1842 and Dr Lunn, Hong Kong's first pathologist, identified cause of death as a 'visitation of God'.

When I saw "visitation of God" listed as the official cause of death, my first reaction was to laugh hysterically, but a little research soon told me that the unusual cause of death wasn't quite as unique as I first thought. It was actually very common in the middle of the nineteenth century to attribute sudden unexplained deaths in this way - basically a fancy way of saying "natural causes." But, Dr. Lunn might have a hard time explaining that his God wasn't the “God of Death”.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | By: rudi butt

Did You Know?

Prior to 1926, 'Hong Kong' was spelt 'Hongkong' - in one word with a lower case 'k'; the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation still uses the old spelling.

Did You Know?

William Murison, Chief Detective Inspector in charge of the criminal investigation section of the Hong Kong Police Force, received a silver cigarette case from Crown Prince Hirohito of Japan as a gift in recognition of Murison's invaluable services during the prince's stopover in the Colony in March 1921 en route to Britain for a state visit. No announcement was made with regards to what services Murison rendered to the Japanese royalty. Hirohito later became the 124th Japanese monarch and in whose name the nation waged war in China and the Pacific.

No Business Like Show Business?

The Friend of China ran the following advertisement on November 17, 1842:-

Advance Hongkong!!!
Theatre Royal

Messrs. Dutronquoy & Co. have at length the satisfaction of announcing to the nobility, gentry and clergy of this flourish and opulent Colony, that their Theatre is advancing most rapidly towards completion.

It is on a most splendid scale, and what with the pieces that will be performed, the Scenery that will be introduced and the splendid assemblage of rank, beauty and fashion which they hope to be honoured with, there is no doubt but that the blaze of Splendour will dazzle the eyes of all beholdders. Vivat Regina.

N.B. The actresses have arrived during the last week, their beauties and talents are only to be surpassed by their spotless virtues.
The first attempt to bring drama to Hong Kong was to have been a combination of professionals and amateurs, but the project came to an abrupt end before it was well under way. A flamboyant Frenchman [1] from Singapore named Gaston Dutronquoy announced in November 1842 that he had obtained the permission of the authorities to erect a theater "on a grand and imposing scale" behind his tavern, the London Hotel, which was located on Queen's Road. He informed an interested public that though the Theatre was not yet built, the actresses had already arrived.

While the actresses were available, there seemed some doubt about the actors. Alexander George Fraser, sixteenth Lord Saltoun, Commander of the Forces, noted on November 25, 1842 that the Theatre was to open on Wednesday, "But who are to be the actors, I have no idea. I believe some amateurs from the navy". Once opened, the life of the Theatre was short. Dutronquoy departed from Hong Kong quite suddenly on December 17. It was alleged that he had to close his Hotel and Theatre under orders from the authorities and pay a fine of $500. This was denied by his agent who stated that the reason for the closure was because Dutronquoy had "received personal violence added to insult and abuse the preceding evening". Hong Kong historian, The Rev. Carl T. Smith, put forward this comment, “One wonders if the "spotless virtues" of the actresses may have been the cause of his troubles.” Dutronquoy returned to Singapore to attend to his hotel business, the London Hotel he opened in 1839, and in 1844 launched the Theatre Royal on the third floor of the hotel.

The end of the very talented Mr. Dutronquoy was to be mysterious as well as theatrical, it was recorded in Singapore that he vanished while in search of gold in the Muar River region (in Malaysia) in c.1856. Rumors of the time stated that he was murdered during the expedition. The London Hotel (in Singapore) was sold in 1857 and renamed Singapore Hotel.

[1] Was Dutronquoy indeed a Frenchman? The South China Morning Post dated July 20, 1933 stated that the the first theatrical company to visit Hong Kong was from Australia, in the year 1842. Could Dutronquoy be from Australia? A Singapore historian, Alex Ong, said the otherwise, “Dutronquoy was the island's first recorded resident photographer. A native of Jersey in the Channel Islands (now that would make him possibly a Briton of French decent, but not necessary a French national), he first arrived in Singapore in early 1839, advertising himself as a painter. In May 1839, Dutronquoy established the London Hotel in High Street and in 1841 opened a photographic studio within the hotel.”