Robert Burns and the Scots in Shanghai

Burns 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 Read More

A ‘keen and zealous’ officer

John 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 Read More

Celebrating John A. Macdonald

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 Read More

The Glasgow Dumfriesshire Society

Many 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 Read More

Celebrating St Andrew’s Day in the Far East

St 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 Read More

The Scots Society of Norwich

In Scotland’s near diaspora regional centres were especially important in the development of Scottish associational culture, including, for instance, Norwich. A Scots Society was established there in 1775, and eventually was given the name of the Society of Universal Good-Will, under which it began to operate from the early 1780s—though the Scots Society name was Read More

Diaspora Aiding Home

In 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 Read More

Kinship Networks among the Scots in Asia

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 Read More

The Forgotten Scot: William Farquhar

William Farquhar was born in 1774 at Newhall near Aberdeen. Like quite a few other young Scots, he looked abroad for opportunities, joining the military service of the British East India Company aged only 17. He thus made his way to Asia, first arriving in Madras in 1791. He was soon promoted to a low-rank Read More

New Book: Clubbing Together

I 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 Read More

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