George Frederick HUTTON POTTS [1864-1937] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

George Frederick HUTTON POTTS [1864-1937]

George Frederick
Hutton Potts
Birthplace (town, state): 
Bedale, Yorkshire
Birthplace (country): 

Page 7 of the China Mail, 7 Jan 1937, reports his funeral, including:

The chief mourners were Mr. Reginald Potts and Mr Jack Potts (sons), Mr Peter Potts (brother), Mr Alec Potts and Mr J A Pym (nephews), Mr R Pestonji (partner of Messrs. Benjamin and Potts) and Mr. Ellis Hayim, of the Shanghai Office.

The Hong Kong Daily Press, 1937-01-05, gives a summary of his life on pages 1 & 8, including:

It was in 1885 that he first came to Hong Kong to join the firm of Russel and Co., remaining with them until their failure in 1900, when he went to Shanghai and opened the brokering firm of Benjamin, Kelly and Potts. in 1906 Mr Kelly separated from this firm and established himself in Hong Kong. Six years later Mr Potts returned from Shanghai and with his brother, Mr P. C. Potts, settled down finally to brokering in Hong Kong under the firm name of Benjamin and Potts.


Last, but by no means least, he was the Chairman of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and laid the foundation stone of the new building in Ice House Street on May 17, 1933.

Potts or Hutton Potts? Joanna writes:

... while most of the family use just "Potts" our correct surname is HUTTON POTTS without a hyphen ...

Photos that show this person


I am the granddaughter of George Frederick Hutton Potts (by his son George Ronald Hutton Potts). I have only recently discovered this fantastic website and have been mining it for any and all information I can find regarding my grandfather. As he died 12 years before I was born, I never knew him and my father barely spoke about his family (I suspect that there was a huge falling out between him and his father - Dad wanted to be a surgeon and, I assume, his father wanted him to become a stock broker, following in the family tradition). Until I happened (quite by accident) upon the book The Quest of Noel Croucher: Hong Kong's Quiet Philanthropist by Vaudine England 2 years ago (which I purchased immediately), I didn't know my grandfather's name or anything about the family. The book opened up a new world for me and I have been tracing my father's family genealogy ever since (Hong Kong records in other genealogy sites are almost nonexistent). Any and all information that anyone can provide would be most gratefully received. Also, I would gladly accept any information on Frederick Hopper Wallace (my maternal grandfather) and his family.

I only discovered the two family bibles last year while I was cleaning out books that I had stored when my mother died. I flipped one of the bibles open and was astounded to find all the family births and marriages listed. An extremely valuable treasure!! The second bible was the one his mother (Jemima) gave to Esme (aka Dolly) on their wedding day. As I had stated previously, my father (George) extremely rarely spoke about his family, I had a few snippets to go by but nothing concrete. Your website had filled in some huge gaps in my knowledge of the family. Being able to find a photo of "Clovelly" means a great deal to me. I found (on another website) a newspaper clipping from the North-China Herald & Supreme Court & Consular Gazette, Volume 108  announcement of the birth of Jack Yuan Hutton Potts at 161 Bubbling Spring Road, Shanghai. Somewhere else (can't remember where) I found that this address was the residence of Sir Elly (Eleazar Silas) Kadoorie and his wife Laura Kadoorie (nee Mocatta). It would seem that while establishing  and working at the office in Shanghai, George and Esme resided with the Kadoories. What do you think?

It is possible, as the two families were likely very close. In the company named above, "Benjamin, Kelly and Potts", the "Kelly" was an alias of Sir E S Kadoorie:

In February 1891 “certain wellknown brokers”, as the press called them, led by the ubiquitous Chater, formed the first proper stock exchange. Among them was a broker who traded under the alias of E.S. Kelly, then a common practice in the colony. He was half of Benjamin & Kelly, and by March 1890 had bought his first 25 shares in the hotel company under his assumed name. 

In reality he was Eleazar (Elly) Silas Kadoorie. Elly, brothers Moyses and Ellis, and nephew Reuben, had all used the “Kelly” alias in colonial business circles since arriving from Baghdad via India in the 1880s.

I am not sure if it is of interest to you but in my collection of POW material I have seen many and I have collected two items of correspondence to and from Jack Hutton Potts:

24/9/44 - Letter to Lieut Jack Hutton Potts from Moreton in the Marsh, Glos. UK arrived 3/3/45

No Date - Postcard from J Hutton Potts Camp N HK to Mrs A Hutton Potts in Australia

If you want, I can send you copies of the envelope and the postcard.

You may get more information from Tony Banham who is an expert on the battle in HK against the Japanese and subsequent POWs interned by the Japanese.  

Alec Hutton-Potts was interned in HK during the war and I believe he was a Freemason and married twice.

I appoligize for my delay in answering. Yes, I am most interested in the letter and postcard you have. I didn't realize that Antonia (Uncle Jack's wife) had been in Australia. Any and all information anyone can provide is most welcome. The "Peter" Hutton Potts mentioned in the memorial to Grandfather George Hutton Potts is Patrick Cumming Hutton Potts.

My research has uncovered the fact that the "Patricks" in the family all have/had the nickname "Peter". My half brother by my father George Ronald Hutton Potts and his first wife Janet is also called "Peter" and it wasn't until I discovered the immigration certificate which Janet completed for her return to the United States (she was a US citizen by birth) that I found his real name is "Patrick Cameron Hutton Potts".