John SMALE [1805-1882]

Submitted by Admin on Thu, 01/03/2013 - 10:26
(Day & Month are approximate.)

Notes from David Hodson:

I am trying to locate a photo of Sir John Smale. He was the Attorney General from 1861 until 1866 and Chief Justice from 1866 until 1881. He was a member of Legco and Exco during that period. I have the photo from the book " The history of the Laws and Courts of Hong Kong" but as he is wearing his wig etc it is not a helpful photo.

Sir John is my Great-Great-Grandfather, hence my interest.

He must have had a very strong constitution, as that wasn't a healthy time to live in Hong Kong, but he was here for 20 years from age 56 to 76!

David also notes that Sir John Smale's daughter, Emily Anne, married Peter George Laurie in 1868. Several of Laurie's letters from Hong Kong in the 1850s and 1860s have been transcribed and can be read online at: (Scan down the menu on the left of the page, and click any of the entries for 'Peter' that are under sections marked 'Hong Kong'.)

Photos that show this Person


I've been told the Dictionary of Hong Kong Biography has an entry for Smale, and gives his date of death as 13 August 1882.

Regards, David

I believe Smale is part of a photo taken when King Kalakaua of Hawaii visited Hong Kong in April 1881.   

Governor Hennessy in a top hat is to the King's left.  Smale seems to be standing directly behind him.  The facial structure appears to match Smale's photo in Norton-Kyshe's photo.  The resolution is not so good on the wikipedia photo, but I have a copy in a published book, which is a little clearer. 

There are actually 'hats-on' and 'hats-off' versions of that sitting. The hats-off one can be found on Page 84 of Excellency: The Governors of Hong Kong by Russell Spurr and one or two other local coffee-table books as I recall. Anyway, in the 'hats-off' photo, the character behind Hennessy does indeed look quite like Smale in Norton-Kyshe.