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, …

New Book: Clubbing Together

clubbingI am delighted to announce that my new book, Clubbing Together: Ethnicity, Civility and Formal Sociability in the Scottish Diaspora to 1930, has been published by Liverpool University Press. I have accumulated a host of debts throughout the preparation and writing of this book, so I’d like to take the opportunity and thank a few people and organizations here.

A few ‘thank yous’:

First, I’d like to acknowledge the British Academy for the support I have received through the Small Research Grant scheme (SG100441). I am also grateful to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, which has funded some of my research in Australia related to ethnic associations. The Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University also deserves my recognition for giving me the opportunity to be a …

Scotland for the Holidays

tourist‘Out with the map of Scotland, a good large one’, wrote New Zealand Scot W.J. Crawford in 1900, one suitable for the ‘journey through the fair land of Scotia.’ Said map in hand, Crawford embarked on a cycling tour, exploring the ‘far-famed Western Highlands replete with rugged mountains and stream-roaring glens’ and ‘the towering portals of historical Glencoe’. He marvelled at the Atlantic swells that had ‘played such sad, though picturesque, havoc with the west coast of Scotland’, and was struck by ‘the bleak moorland, heather clad and inhabited by herds of shaggy Highland cattle with their big, broad horns and villainous eyes’. Yet the most lasting impression for Crawford was the hospitality and kindness dispensed by the Scots he met en route, all of whom he found good-natured, pleasant …

Public Symposium on Scottish Connections with Japan

GBSFIn nineteenth-century Japan Scots were at the vanguard of European arrivals, with Thomas Blake Glover providing the most prominent example of the close ties that subsequently developed between Japan and Scotland. Glover arrived in Nagasaki in 1859 to manage the local office of Hong Kong-based Jardine Matheson, but soon set up his own trading company. He sold arms, developed coal mines and was fundamental in establishing a shipyard in Nagasaki that would later become the Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan, importing the required technology directly from the Clyde. Glover was the purveyor of the Japanese industrialisation. Of great significance too was Neil Gordon Munro, the director of Yokohama’s General Hospital and one of the first Westerners to study the Ainu people of Hokkaido. Yet while the history of Scots like …