Thomas Sutherland (banker)

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Sir Thomas Sutherland
Thomas Sutherland, Vanity Fair, 1887-10-22.jpg
1887 Caricature of Mr. T Sutherland MP. Caption reads: "P and O". Published in Vanity Fair 22 October 1887.
Born(1834-08-16)16 August 1834 [1]
Died1 January 1922(1922-01-01) (aged 87)
Alma mater University of Aberdeen
Known forFounder of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (aka HSBC Holdings PLC)
Spouse(s)Alice Macnaught (m. 1880, died 1920)
Helen Sutherland (daughter)
Eric Macnaught Sutherland

Sir Thomas Sutherland, GCMG (Chinese :蘇石蘭 16 August 1834 – 1 January 1922) was a British banker and politician, initially elected to represent the Liberal Party and then as a Liberal Unionist. He founded The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation which was the founder member of HSBC Group and directed the P&O Company.

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is 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.

Liberal Party (UK) political party of the United Kingdom, 1859–1988

The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade-supporting Peelites and the reformist Radicals in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.

The Liberal Unionist Party was a British political party that was formed in 1886 by a faction that broke away from the Liberal Party. Led by Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain, the party formed a political alliance with the Conservative Party in opposition to Irish Home Rule. The two parties formed the ten-year-long coalition Unionist Government 1895–1905 but kept separate political funds and their own party organisations until a complete merger between the Liberal Unionist and the Conservative parties was agreed to in May 1912.


Early life

Sutherland was the son of Robert Sutherland and Christian Webster of Aberdeen. He was educated at Aberdeen University.

Aberdeen City and council area in Scotland

Aberdeen is a city in northeast Scotland. It is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 39th most populous built-up area, with an official population estimate of 196,670 for the city of Aberdeen and 228,800 for the local council area.

University of Aberdeen university in Aberdeen, United Kingdom

The University of Aberdeen is a public research university in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is an ancient university founded in 1495 when William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen and Chancellor of Scotland, petitioned Pope Alexander VI on behalf of James IV, King of Scots to establish King's College, making it Scotland's third-oldest university and the fifth-oldest in the English-speaking world. Today, Aberdeen is consistently ranked among the top 200 universities in the world and is ranked within the top 30 universities in the United Kingdom. In the 2019 Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings, Aberdeen was ranked 31st in the world for impact on society. Aberdeen was also named the 2019 Scottish University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.


Sutherland got his start clerking in the London office of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O). Soon after, P&O promoted Sutherland to superintendent, assigning him to British Hong Kong to manage the firm's Asian operation. [2] In 1863 he became the first chairman of the Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock. In order to help finance the burgeoning trade between China and Europe, and explore the potential for China—United States trade, Sutherland established The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in 1865 [3] and became its first vice-chairman.

British Hong Kong Crown colony and British dependent territory in East Asia between 1841 and 1997

British Hong Kong was Hong Kong when it was governed as a colony and British Dependent Territory of the United Kingdom. Hong Kong was under British rule from 1841 and was briefly occupied by Japan from 1941 to 1945 before surrendering the territory back to British forces, resuming British rule from 1945 to 1997. The colonial period began with the occupation of Hong Kong Island in 1841 during the First Opium War. The island was ceded by Qing dynasty in the aftermath of the war in 1842 and established as a Crown colony in 1843. The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War and was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898.

Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock

Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock was a Hong Kong dockyard, once among the largest in Asia.

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Hong Kong bank, subsidiary of HSBC

HSBC, officially known as The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC, the largest bank in Hong Kong, and operates branches and offices throughout the Asia Pacific region, and in other countries around the world. It is also one of the three commercial banks licensed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to issue banknotes for the Hong Kong dollar.

He was appointed member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong from 1865 to 1866. In 1872 he was appointed Managing Director of P & O. [4]

Legislative Council of Hong Kong legislative body of Hong Kong

The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or LegCo is the unicameral legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

In November 1884, Sutherland was elected at a by-election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Greenock. [5] A Liberal, he was re-elected in 1885, but when the Liberals split over Irish Home Rule he joined the breakaway Liberal Unionist Party. He was re-elected as a Liberal Unionist in 1886, but lost the seat at the 1892 general election. However, he was reinstated when his opponent was unseated on petition, [6] and held the seat until he stood down at the 1900 general election. [6]

Greenock was a burgh constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1832 until 1974, when it was abolished and its area was merged into the new Greenock and Port Glasgow constituency.

1885 United Kingdom general election nationwide election to the House of Commons

The 1885 United Kingdom general election was held from 24 November to 18 December 1885. This was the first general election after an extension of the franchise and redistribution of seats. For the first time a majority of adult males could vote and most constituencies by law returned a single member to Parliament fulfilling one of the ideals of Chartism to provide direct single-member, single-electorate accountability. It saw the Liberals, led by William Ewart Gladstone, win the most seats, but not an overall majority. As the Irish Nationalists held the balance of power between them and the Conservatives who sat with an increasing number of allied Unionist MPs, this exacerbated divisions within the Liberals over Irish Home Rule and led to a Liberal split and another general election the following year.

1886 United Kingdom general election

The 1886 United Kingdom general election took place from 1 July to 27 July 1886, following the defeat of the Government of Ireland Bill 1886. It resulted in a major reversal of the results of the 1885 election as the Conservatives, led by Lord Salisbury were joined in an electoral pact with the breakaway Unionist wing of the Liberals led by Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain. The new Liberal Unionist party gave the Conservatives their parliamentary majority but did not join them in a formal coalition.

Personal life

In 1880, Sutherland married Alice Macnaught. She was the daughter of Rev. John Macnaught of Holy Trinity Church, Conduit Street, London, England. The couple had two sons, and a daughter, Helen Christian Sutherland (1881–1965), known as an art patron; one of the sons, Eric Macnaught Sutherland, died in the Second Boer War, the other son, Thomas Leslie Macnaught Sutherland, died during World War I. In 1920, His wife Alice died. [7] [8]

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Helen Christian Sutherland, married name Helen Denman, was an English art patron and collector.

Death and legacy

In 1922, Sutherland died in London, England. Sutherland Street in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong was named after him.

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  1. Burke, Bernard; Ashworth Peter, Burke (1910). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, the Privy Council, Knightage and Companionage. Harrison. p. 2367.
  2. Winn, Christopher (2012). I Never Knew That About the Scottish. Random House. ISBN   1407028936.
  3. Finel-Honigman, Irene (2009). A Cultural History of Finance. Routledge. p. 116. ISBN   1135238510.
  4. Debretts Guide to the House of Commons 1886
  5. Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1977]. British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 548. ISBN   0-900178-26-4.
  6. 1 2 Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 510. ISBN   0-900178-27-2.
  7. Harcourt, Freda. "Sutherland, Sir Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36373.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  8. Bill Peschel, ed. (19 November 2014). The Early Punch Parodies of Sherlock Holmes. Peschel Press. p. 282. GGKEY:F7G5E4WJ95H.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Stewart
Member of Parliament for Greenock
Succeeded by
John Bruce
(unseated on petition)
Preceded by
John Bruce
Member of Parliament for Greenock
Succeeded by
James Reid
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
Preceded by
Charles Wilson Murray
Unofficial Member
Served alongside: Francis Chomley, James Whittall
Succeeded by
Hugh Bold Gibb