Transnational Charity: The First World War and Beyond

warcharityHKStASWith the commencement of the First World War a range of charitable initiatives developed that linked the Scots in Asia directly back to Scotland; many of these initiatives proved enduring long past the end of the war. In 1914, the Colombo St Andrew’s Day dinner organized by the Society was cancelled as a result of the outbreak of the conflict. Instead, it was suggested that those who had planned to attend the ball should donate the money they would have spent on a dinner ticket to the Ceylon branch of the Prince of Wales’ Fund. This was a practice followed in other centres in Asia, for example in Singapore. This type of activity in support of the British war effort, the President of the St Andrew’s Society of Singapore stressed, …

Celebrating St Andrew’s Day in the Far East

HKicon-squareSt 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 references to celebrations of St Andrew’s Day dinners in Canton from the mid-1830s, hence the period by which a larger number of free merchants had commenced trade there.  In …

Diaspora Aiding Home

Screen-Shot-2014-10-07-at-21.23.08In 1812 William Kinloch, a Calcutta-based Scottish merchant, died, leaving the residue of his estate to the Scottish Corporation (also referred to as Scottish Hospital) in London. As Kinloch had detailed in his will:

The residue of my estate … I will and bequeath may be lodged in the British funds at interest, under the management of the Governor and Managers of the fund instituted in London, for the relief of poor and indigent Scotchmen; and that the interest of this residue of my estate, may be received annually … [to] be paid annually to poor and disabled Scotchmen in distress, who may have lost their legs, or arms, eyesight, or otherwise wounded in the army or navy, in the service of their country …

Given that Kinloch had only …

Kinship Networks among the Scots in Asia

Screen-Shot-2014-10-28-at-21.53.09Of great importance for the facilitation of trade and Scottish enterprise beyond the shores of the Indian subcontinent was the development of shipping interests. One name that stands out in this respect is that of Sir William Mackinnon. Born in Campbeltown, Argyll, in 1823, Mackinnon proceeded to work for a merchant in Glasgow who traded with the East before embarking to India himself in 1846.Of great importance for the facilitation of trade and Scottish enterprise beyond the shores of the Indian subcontinent was the development of shipping interests. One name that stands out in this respect is that of Sir William Mackinnon. Born in Campbeltown, Argyll, in 1823, Mackinnon proceeded to work for a merchant in Glasgow who traded with the East before embarking to India himself in 1846. As …