William Jenkins WEBB ANDERSON [1870-1933]

Submitted by jill on Fri, 02/27/2015 - 22:25
William Jenkins
Webb Anderson
Birthplace (town, state)
Birthplace (country)

The missionary doctor, the Rev. W. J. Webb Anderson M.B., Ch.B was one of the mainstays of the Wesleyan Missionary Church hospital in Fatshan, Canton, where he worked for over twenty years, according to Carl Smith. According to my father’s memory, the Rev Webb Anderson was one of the closest friends of his own father, Charles Edward Warren, who often visited him on the mainland. Webb Anderson's Hong Kong furlough bungalow had originally been in Leighton Hill, but became 19 Broadwood Road when Broadwood Road was created.

From Broadwood Road’s inception in 1916, Webb Anderson is given as the rate payer for no. 19 (originally no. 20). He is continuously recorded as the rate payer at least until 1926, by which time he had retired to England, yet 19 Broadwood Road, known as “The Cottage” was also the house where my uncle, Leslie Warren lived with his family from 1924 to 1938. Most of his family photos were taken there.

The Hong Kong Daily Press of 29 November 1916 records Webb Anderson as speaking in Hong Kong about the success of the Fatshan Hospital enterprise. Was this the year that he retired from Fatshan? I’m trying to find out whether he was actually living in Broadwood Road from 1916 to 1925. I believe there are records of him preaching at the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Hong Kong. I’d like to find out whether there are any other records of his contribution to the Hong Kong community. The South China Morning Post of 13 July 1923 records the Webb Anderson family leaving Hong Kong for good the previous day. Webb Anderson held on to his house at 19 Broadwood Road, however, and let it to Leslie Warren and his family when they moved out of The Towers.

Carl Smith records the Rev WJ Webb Anderson’s marriage to Eva Rawcliffe at the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Hong Kong in 1901. He also records the death of his father, the Reverend Theophilus D. Webb Anderson in July 1926 and gives WJ Webb Anderson as “resident in England” at that date.



Other reference
Wesleyan Methodist Church Ist generation

Photos that show this Person




Founder of Hospital and Nursing Institute.

Among the passengers who left Hong Kong yesterday by the SS Empress of Asia were Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Webb Anderson of the Wesleyan Society’s Medical Mission at Fatshan, who leave for England on retirement after twenty-four years’ strenuous and highly successful work in the neighbouring province of Kwantung.

Dr. and Mfs. Webb Anderson, who are both well-known in Hong Kong, greatly endeared themselves to a large section of the community in which they labored and this was manifested as the hour of departure drew nigh by numerous gifts of silken scrolls and other characteristically Chinese offerings for good health, prosperity, much cracker firing and also the shedding of copious tears. Dr. Anderson whose health has not been of the best in recent years, jocularly declared yesterday, when seen by a representative of the S.C.M. Post,  that “his stock went up enormously” as soon as the good people realized that he was really going. It was only during the last tearful week that he came to learn how sincerely grateful his constituents were for what he had done for them. The expressions of gratitude then made in speech and in deed and in specially composed song and story, were such that his good wife, his companion and the helpmeet in all his work, had not ceased to tease him ever since. He declared he had never deserved nor could possibly live up to all the good things the Chinese said of him, and he anticipates, when he settles down at Shanklin, a lively succession of reminders from his wife.

Why Worry?

Asked if he had ever had trouble with the Chinese, Dr. Anderson said he had managed to rub along for 24 years in and around Fatshan without a single worry. There had been times, when, had he been otherwise constituted, he might have worried, but he simply didn’t see the necessity. His faith in God and his fellow men had piloted him over many troubled waters. Once with $150 in his pocket, his little Red Cross boat, the one that was presented to him by the Hong Kong Government, was about to be raided by a gang of cut-throats. He had almost given up hope of escape when soldiers appeared on the river bank and the gang of marauders melted away like snowflakes in June. It was a providential escape. At no time in his twenty-four years had he been free of the attention of blackmailers. He hadn’t been many weeks in Fatshan when $300 was the price on his head. He had done nothing to offend, but, he supposed, they just thought he was worth that much! His last blackmailing letter was received only three weeks ago, the price on this occasion being $5,000, showing that he had, like everything else in China appreciated considerably in value. It was a pleasure to know that he had not depreciated with time, but he confessed he didn’t so much care about the new form of fate that was to be his if he didn’t ante up. On the firs occasion he was only to have his throat cut, a rather crude and messy performance no doubt, but preferable to having his residence bombed with himself and wife in it, which was the last form of threat that he received. “Well, Doctor,” asked the interviewer, “did you ever pay up?”

Among the Blackmailers.

“Never, a cent,” he replied. “It was just blackmail,” he added, “and I don’t think they intended me any harm. Anyhow, I worried not and I still turn the scale at 210 lbs., a fairly respectable weight for one who has never been free of molestation of one kind or another for the last twenty-four years. With the aid of the little Red Cross boat which the Hongkong Government was kind enough to give me some years ago, I have actually dared the lion in its den, so to speak. I have taken the opportunity of administering free healing amongst the very people who have threatened my life. Some have scowled and shown feeling, but I have never come by any harm. In fact, I believe they have even appreciated my visits, for patients and their friends have generally accompanied me back to my boat with every expression of gratitude. I got my own back at my blackmailers one afternoon, for I pulled out no less than 114 teeth, sparing no pains to do it nicely. You never saw such an evil-looking, blood-spitting crowd as followed me to my boat that day, but they had been “cured” of what Burns described as the “hell of all diseases”- quite an epidemic had broken out – and drastic as the remedy was, I don’t think they bore me any ill will. For my part, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

What Hong Kong Did.

Asked about the hospital in Fatshan, Dr. Anderson became enthusiastic. He was glad to say that he had built a fine monument there and that his 210 lbs. of flesh was not beneath it. “Fatshan now possesses a really fine hospital,” he said, “towards which the people of Hongkong handsomely subscribed last year, Hongkong’s subscription being, I may add, the only one ever received by the hospital from outside sources. The work has been entirely self-supporting and of that fact I am more than proud. The buildings, furnishings, drugs etc. have all been secured by the working of the hospital on sound business lines. At the same time, the spiritual side of the work has been kept well to the fore. Besides the hospital, with fully equipped with its complement of eighty beds, two churches have also been built without costing a cent to the Wesleyan Methodist Society and it has been my pleasure and privilege to baptize some hundreds of members in them. Both churches are now, like the hospital, practically self-supporting.

Hospital Work.

“Last year,” continued Dr. Anderson, speaking of his hospital work, “we registered 1,211 in-patients and 44,000 out-patients. Compare this with the 70 in-patients and 3,000 out-patients of my first year, and who will say we have not made fine progress. The area covered by the hospital is nearly five acres and I have been architect, contractor, brick-layer and goodness knows what, besides being doctor and chief bottle-washer! At the same time,” remarked Dr. Anderson, “it has been a priceless privilege to do this work and I am grateful to the Almighty for giving me the energy, strength and interest to carry it out.”

Hongkong Ward

“The new Hongkong ward is a fine double-storeyed, ferro-concrete building. It will take twenty-four patients, and when completed, will possess as complete an outfit for electrical treatment as we can possibly give it. Our new continuous current will provide not only for this treatment but give light etc., for the entire establishment as well. The future, I believe, is great. With facilities for increasing medical practice and the development of an extremely useful female nursing school – Chinese women being very keen on this and making very excellent nurses – the Fatshan institution which Hongkong has so handsomely recognized, is bound to grow enormously."

Dr. A.W. Hooker, who has been in China since 1908 and has resided in Soochow for the last eight years, has taken over charge from Dr. Anderson and he is assisted by Dr. R. P. Haddon. A recent arrival, whose work is expected to be of supreme importance, is Miss Banks. She assumes charge of the women’s side of the hospital work and the nursing institute.

Dr. Anderson’s Career.

It just remains to be said that Dr. Webb Anderson, after a short business career, entered Leeds University, where he took the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Doctor of Medicine and finally the Diploma of Tropical Medicine. His studies completed, he came to Fatshan and there he has remained, apart from furloughs, for the whole of his twenty-four years in China. Mrs. Anderson has ably seconded the work of her husband on the spiritual side and both of them leave this part of the world with the best wishes of a host of friends, European and Chinese, that they may enjoy many years of life and real comfort in the homeland. They first proceed to Shanklin for a holiday and afterwards take up residence at 24 Bishop’s Gate, London E.C.2., where they will always be pleased to meet old friends from the East.



Birth (Ancestry Public Tree)   4 July 1870

Birth registration Quarter 3 1870 Ulverstone (the Registration district for Barrow in Furness)

Baptism 28 August 1870 Barrow in Furness

Probate Calendar William Jenkins Webb Anderson of 51 Highbury Park Middlesex died 21 May 1933