Robert George SUTHERLAND [1874-1947] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Robert George SUTHERLAND [1874-1947]

Robert George

Robert Sutherland was my grandfather.  His son Bruce Abbott Sutherland, my father, was born in Hong Kong.  The only information I have is that the family lived at R Sutherland Esq, 369 The Peak, Hong Kong, China in 1924.

Robert Sutherland was a senior manager for Jardine Matheson.

I'm hoping to find out more about the family.

Photos that show this person


No. 369 the Peak was a house called Landless. Prior to 1st January 1924 it was numbered 129A. (see here) Due to its numbering the house was likely built between 1914 and 1924. It was located in the vicinity of The Ridge (No. 370) and Brockhurst (No. 368)

In the 1924 Juror's list Robert Sutherland's address is given as No 368 the Peak so it is possible that the house called Brockhurst was divided/rebuilt as two separate dwellings. He also appears in the 1930 Jurors list at the same location but not after that

Robert Sutherland's occupation is given as Merchant in 1924 and Shipping Manager in 1930

The earliest Jurors List I see him in is the 1907 list:

c Sutherland Robert Assistant Jardine, Matheson & Co.     106   The Peak

(Here's the search I used.)

So that would put him in Hong Kong between 1907 and 1930. Does that match any information you have?

Do we know his wife's name, and whether they got married in Hong Kong? If yes, it may get a mention in the newspapers.

Robert's wife, my grandmother was called Ida and her maiden name was Moorhead.  The dates you suggest 1907-30, fit with family recollections.  My father Bruce Abbott Sutherland was born in 1915 in Hong Kong, but he had two much older brothers called Robert and Douglas whom I'm assuming were born back in the U.K. .  I'd really like to establish when my grandfather was born and died, and also if he was known as Robert or George. From chatting to my brothers, we think he died in about 1948.  Below is a photograph of the Sutherland family, with George Robert Sutherland holding my father Bruce on his lap, his oldest son Robert on the left with middle son Douglas standing behind his mother Ida


They were married in FooChow so it is possible your Uncles were born in China


As the hills surrounding Foochow were capped with snow from Jan. 8 to the 11th inclusive.  At Doong Liang it is reported to have been 3ft 6in deep, but this was probably in a drift: the thermometer there was 4 degrees below freezing point.  There has not been so much snow since 1893.

The wedding of Mr Robert Sutherland with Miss Ida Moorehead at the British Episcopal Church was a particularly pretty spectacle.  Seldom has the church been decorated with more pleasing effect.  The bride, who was attended by her three sisters as bridesmaids, was give away by her father, and Mr James Helbling acted as best man to the bridegroom.  The Rev. Ll. Lloyd officiated.  The choral part of the service, which was taken by a full choir, was excellently performed, adding brightness to the ceremony. After the close of the service Mr. and Mrs. Moorehead received quite a number of friends at their residence, most of whom remained until after the departure of the happy pair for their honeymoon

The only way that I've found to discover a relative's birth or death dates  of a relative in Hong Kong is to apply for advice to the Registrar for Births and Deaths at Government Immigration Department preferably by email:

I found that the recent online application form for non-residents of Hong Kong aborted every time I entered my (non-Hong Kong) phone number and have only ever been successful by sending a printed application + bankers draft. I've written elsewhere on Gwulo about the fee, which was HK$140 for a Particular Search - that is if you know the date to within 5 years. (They will search two years either side of the date given on the form.) It's a larger fee for a General Search if you have no idea of the date of birth or death. 

There is room on the application form for alternative names of the subject, if you are not quite sure which was the first or second name. However I have had a search wrongly returned as Negative by not being able to give a middle name. It's worth asking again if searches come back negative.

If your search is returned as Positive there is another fee to pay for being sent the certificate itself in order to find out the date of birth or death and the exact address where the birth or death took place. Laborious, but worthwhile.

Good luck!


On the historical photos of China website (University of Bristol) it shows two photographs of  a wedding in Foochow.

A wedding group, 1920s.  Os05-153

A wedding party, 1920s Os05-154

My aunt in her memories wrote that she and her sister were bridesmaids in 1928 for the wedding of Bunch Oswald and Robert Sutherland of Jardines, Hong Kong.

I am assuming this was your uncle?

Interestingly, and posted previously, my grandfather was bestman at Robert Sutherland and Ida Moorhead's wedding in 1900. My grandfather would have only been in Foochow three years as he only arrived in 1897 and at that time worked for Gilman & Co.  By the 1920s he was working for Jardines in Foochow.

Carl Smith Card 145593

SCMP 22 February 1947 reports Robert George Sutherland O.B.E. formerly of Jardine Matheson and one time Chieftan of the St Andrew's Society died 12 February 1947 in England

There is a list of Chieftans of the St Andrews Society Hong Kong on Wikipedia. Robert Sutherland O.B.E. was Chieftan 1923 - 1924

Andrews Cards

SUTHERLAND on Feb 12 1947 died Robert (Bob) O.B.E. late of Jardine Matheson of Hong Kong (Retd), loved husband of Ida Sutherland of Byways, Ashtead Surrey aged 72.

UK 1939 Census 14 Gladstone Road Leatherhead Surrey

Robert Sutherland date of birth 22 August 1874 Merchant Shipping Manager

Ida O Sutherland date of birth 5 April 1880

UK Foreign and Overseas Register

Marriage 11 January 1900 at Foochow

Ida Oakman Moorehead age 19 spinster, daughter of Theodore Moorehead occupation customs service, to Robert Sutherland of full age merchant, son of George Sutherland occupation ship owner.  Witnesses Theodore Moorehead, Laura Moorehead, George Sutherland, James Herbling

UK  Death Index

Robert Sutherland age 72 registered Isle of Wight Volume 6b Page 1083 Quarter 1 1947 (Jan Feb Mar)

UK Death Index

Ida Oakman Sutherland Quarter 2 1969 Sutton Surrey  date of  birth  5 April 1880

Interestingly  on official records above he is called only Robert Sutherland

The only plain Robert Sutherland born in England and Wales in 1874 is that of Robert Sutherland registered September Quarter (July August September births)  Birkenhead Volume 8a Page 518. There are no Robert George Sutherland births registered in 1874 in England or Wales.

Scotlands People has the birth of  a Robert George Sutherland registered in 1874 in Latheron 038/158. Latheron is in Caithness. His role as Chieftan of the St. Andrews Society strongly indicates that he might be Scottish.. It is possible on Scotlands People to buy credits to see  the image of his birth record which you can download  and print. 30 credits cost £7.50. Download of a birth certificate costs 6 credits.  Scottish birth records show the exact time and place of birth and  names of parents and date and place of their marriage. If this is your Robert George Sutherland you could use spare credits for further research.


Thanks for this information.  It is all helping to paint a picture of my grandfather for the family archive I am creating.  It would be useful to know more about why he was awarded the OBE, if anyone has knowledge.

thank you

malcolm sutherland.

Birthday Honours List 1928

Robert Sutherland M.B.E For services for the welfare of the troops in Hong Kong

He is listed under the heading Commander of the Order of the British Empire  Sub heading Colonies Protectorates Etc

However in the list he is shown as already an M.B.E. 

(Check Wikiwand)