Thomas Southorn

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Sir Thomas Southorn

Sir Thomas Southorn.jpg
Governor of the Gambia
In office
22 October 1936 23 March 1942
Preceded by Arthur Richards
Succeeded by Hilary Blood
Personal details
Born4 August 1879
Died15 March 1957(1957-03-15) (aged 77)
Thomas Southorn
Traditional Chinese 修頓
Simplified Chinese 修顿
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 蕭敦
Simplified Chinese 萧敦

Sir Wilfrid Thomas Southorn KCMG KBE (4 August 1879 – 15 March 1957) (Chinese Translated Name: 修頓, Old Translated Name:蕭敦), known as Tom, was a British colonial administrator, spending the large part of career in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). He was the Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong from 1925–1936 and served as Acting Administrator of the colony from February to March 1930 and from May to September 1935, and then in November the same year, basically at either end of the tenure of Sir William Peel as Governor. [1] His official (summer) residence was Mountain Lodge. [2]

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a language family that forms the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan languages. Chinese languages are spoken by the ethnic Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

Sri Lanka Island country in South Asia

Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. The island is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.


In 1921 he married author Bella Sidney Woolf (1877–1960), whom he met through her (later) more famous brother Leonard Woolf, when the two men were colleagues in Ceylon. In 1904, then a humble 'Office Assistant', Southorn had met Leonard Woolf on his arrival in Ceylon from England. [2] [3]

Bella Sidney Woolf OBE (1877–1960) was an English author, sister of author Leonard Woolf and first married to Robert Heath Lock, and in her second marriage to Hong Kong colonial secretary and colonial Ceylonese administrator Tom Southorn.

Leonard Woolf English political theorist, author, publisher and civil servant

Leonard Sidney Woolf was a British political theorist, author, publisher and civil servant, and husband of author Virginia Woolf.

In 1936, he was made Governor of The Gambia, notably describing the colony as "a geographical and economic absurdity". [2]

The Gambia Country in West Africa

The Gambia, officially the Republic of The Gambia, is a country in West Africa that is almost entirely surrounded by Senegal with the exception of its western coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. It is the smallest country within mainland Africa.

Places named after him

Southorn Playground in Wan Chai, Hong Kong was named for him in 1934, while he was Colonial Secretary. Also bearing his name are the associated Southorn Stadium and adjacent Southorn Centre. [1]

Southorn Playground A playground in Wan Chai

Southorn Playground is a sports and recreational ground in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. It comprises a football pitch, four basketball courts, and a children's playground.

Wan Chai metropolitan area in Hong Kong

Wan Chai is a metropolitan area situated at the western part of the Wan Chai District on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island, in Hong Kong. Its other boundaries are Canal Road to the east, Arsenal Street to the west and Bowen Road to the south. The area north of Gloucester Road is often referred to as Wan Chai North.

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  1. 1 2 Yanne, Andrew; Heller, Gillis (2009). Signs of a Colonial Era. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 36, 69. ISBN   9789622099449.
  2. 1 2 3 Out and about - Bella Southorn's stories reflect the life she loved as the wife of a colonial civil servant, SCMP Magazine, Jason Wordie, 24 Apr 2011
  3. Letter in Daily News, Sri Lanka, quoting Leonard Woolf's biography Archived 2011-01-14 at the Wayback Machine
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Claud Severn
Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Norman Lockhart Smith
Preceded by
Sir Cecil Clementi
Acting Administrator of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Sir William Peel
Preceded by
Sir William Peel
Acting Administrator of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Acting Administrator Norman Smith
Preceded by
Acting Administrator Norman Smith
Acting Administrator of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Sir Andrew Caldecott
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Frederick Richards
Governor of The Gambia
Succeeded by
Hilary Rudolph Robert Blood