Robert Burns and the Scots in Shanghai

BurnsShanghaiBurns anniversaries have been celebrated around the world for a long time, proliferating in the nineteenth century. In Shanghai, where China’s first Scottish association, the Shanghai St Andrew’s Society, was established in the mid-nineteenth century, however, the anniversary, as the North China Herald reported in 1902, ‘has gone without public celebration’. But it was all about to change, thanks in particular to Charles Stewart Addis, the new president of the St Andrew’s Society. Addis, together with other members of the Society’s committee, was ‘determined that the reproach of neglect of Scotia’s favourite son should no longer be justly cast … Read more

A ‘keen and zealous’ officer

SaundersJohn Llewellyn Saunders was born in Dunedin in New Zealand’s South Island  on 12 January 1891. His mother,  Jeanie Hutchison, had emigrated from Scotland, while John’s father William had Welsh roots.  John was educated at Otago Boys’ High School, leaving it in 1907 to commence his studies at the University of Otago Dental School. He graduated in 1913, then making his way north to Christchurch, helping to established the first dental department in the local public hospital.

As John’s biographer Brooking notes, the outbreak of the First World War saw John join the Otago Infantry Regiment.

Described as a ‘keen and

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Celebrating John A. Macdonald

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John Alexander Macdonald was born in Glasgow on this day, 11 January, 200 years ago. An opportune moment to celebrate his achievements and role in the making of the Canada we know today. John spent the first few years of his life in Scotland, but then emigrated to Kingston in what was then Upper Canada when he was five years old. His father, Hugh, had been a merchant in Glasgow and continued in the profession, opening up a number of shops in Kingston and beyond. Like many Scots, Hugh greatly valued education and was keen for John to be well-educated. … Read more

The Glasgow Dumfriesshire Society

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 19.09.38Many Highland Scots, on moving to the urban centres of the Lowlands, established clubs and societies there. What is a little-known fact, however, is that Lowland Scots too utilised associationalism in this way, for instance when having moved from rural areas to cities. In Glasgow, for instance, the Dumfriesshire Society was very active. The Society was founded in 1869 as an amalgam of the Glasgow Nithsdale Society, which had been established in the mid-1860s, and the Dumfriesshire Benevolent Society formed earlier in 1869. It was thought that, given the similar objectives of the organisations, combining efforts would be a sensible … Read more

Celebrating St Andrew’s Day in the Far East

ballSt Andrew, Scotland’s patron saint, was celebrated by Scots around the world. In Asia, early references come from India where dinners were, by the 1850s, a common affair and widely reported in the press. They only achieved a more stable base, however, in the late-nineteenth century. As Stewart, in his exploration of the jute industry in Calcutta, has noted, the dinners were ‘the most important public ceremonial occasion each year for the British community’.

From India Scottish dinners soon extend their geographic reach—a development in unison with the expansion of the British sphere of influence in the Far East. We find … Read more

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