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This letter gives a touching description of the funeral of Sir Thomas Jackson. It is part of the family news from Alfred Markham TOWNSEND (1847-1939) to his daughter Effie STABB. It is shared with permission of HSBC archives in London, for which I am grateful. Any errors of transcription or annotations are mine alone. If anone can help fill in the blanks for those perople I have yet to annotate, that would be wonderful.
Sharon Oddie Brown. September 24, 2014.


29 Palace Gate, W

1915 Dec 25


Telephone 2851 Kensington



My Dear Effie[1],


I wonder what sort of a Christmas you are having – I have no doubt the children are having a high old time – here we are having a very peaceful day – Josie[2] & her two are with you – & the children are as happy & as good as they can be – they have all just gone on to Kitsie’s[3] for an afternoon party, & we are to dine there this evening: supposed to be a farewell to Eric[4] – who now “joins” I don’t know yet exactly what – he wants to join Alan’s Corps[5] – but there is a difficulty about getting a commission. There are now.


There is no question about “War” now; nearly everyone seems to be joining – & it is affecting all trades & business. Of course it is a thousand times worse in Germany – not a ship there can go to sea – Their Ports all idle – Factories closed except for munitions – everything paid for in paper – which can’t be redeemed – & by Loans on which they will have trouble to pay the interest on, & food so dear that the poor people can’t get it – I don’t think they can, or will stand much longer.


I went yesterday to Jackson’s[6] funeral – in his day – which was almost before you can remember – he was a great man – a real leader – large hearted & generous & not self-seeking & we were all glad to follow him – latterly he became feeble & often querulous, though at times his old spirit would light up again.


He fell asleep at the desk in the office – they reported him asleep & an hour after found that it was death. He was wonderfully attached to the bank, & I think that was the end he would’ve liked.


It was he who welded the staff into a “Service” & so long as he was at the helm – there was always a fine esprit de corps among the men.


I really meant to tell you about the funeral – there was a service at all Hallows Lombard Street, at which a great many attended – including mother & Josie – superintended by Mister Jones[7] – but I went with Aunt Josie[8] & Kitsy to Stanstead. We left home at 9 o’clock got there at 11:45 went straight to the church & after the service took a motor back to B. Stortford[9]  – I had to stand up & a third class carriage all the way back[10] & got home at 4 o’clock – getting some lunch at Liverpool Street – it was about a miserable a funeral as could be; cold and pouring with rain – there were a good number of people there – McLevy Browne[11], Addis[12], Edwardson[13], Murray Stewart[14], Hunter[15], Oxley[16], Smith[17], Carl Meyer[18], Swire[19], Douglas Jones[20], McCullagh Browne[21], Rowett[22], Mitchells[23], Duncan Macintosh[24], J.C. Peter[25], & heaps more. Lady Jackson was not there[26] – the family came strolling in – Tommy[27] & Pat[28] were expected from the front, but did not arrive in time – poor Julie[29] came in on his crutches. He lately had another operation – so he was looking very delicate & then – but they are hopeful that he will now get on, better.


Dot Jackson[30] marched up the church alone with a good swinging gait – poor Bee[31] looked very ill – Russell[32], & Kathleen’s husband[33] were there looking very well in uniform.

When we went outside to the grave. It was pouring cats & dogs & I was sorry for the poor clergyman and choir boys – it did not much matter to us, with umbrellas  – & so home.


It will, I fear be a sad breakup for the family – though I expect Tommy will be generous to them all – until a lady Tom[34] takes charge.


Now I hear the children just come back – so I’ll stop, with best love


Your affectionate



So sorry to get a note from Pike[36] yesterday to say my note about Bergi[37] arrived two days after the fair – she must have thought me a fraud as I told her that she would be looked after at Colombo & Penang & Singapore. Mails seems to get any help now a days.

The printers are taking an awful time with Sid’s diary[38] – I sent them the final proof, [??..??] ago.

[1] Ethel M. TOWNSEND born abt July 1880, New Jersey, USA. In 1909, she married Sir Newton John STABB (1868-1931), another HSBC Manager. He was born December 15, 1868 in St. Johns Newfoundland where his father and uncle ran Nicholas Stabb & Sons. They had two sons & three daughters. She was an active hostess & den mother of the young HSBC staffers when they lived in Hong Kong. Ethel’s mother was a sister-in-law of Sir Ewen CAMERON (1841-1908) – another example of the intermarriages within the HSBC family. Ethel died three decades after her husband, on February 6, 1961.

[2] Josephine Eleanor TOWNSEND born 1881 in New Jersey USA. She married Dr. Thomas C. BLACKWELL (1874-1967) in 1905. The children would be Josephine & Walter BLACKWELL.

[3] Kitsy

[4] Eric

[5] Allan’s Corps?

[6] Sir Thomas JACKSON (1841-1915)

[7] I assume Douglas JONES aka H.D.C. JONES?

[8] Aunt Josie?

[9] Bishop’s Stortford, the nearest town to Stanstead.

[10] NOTE: AT age 68.

[11] Sir John McLevy Brown (1835-1926). Born in Lisburn, Ireland, Chief Commissioner of Customs in Korea.

[12] Sir Charles Stewart Addis (1861-1945)

[13] W.S. EDWARDSON An HSBC accountant in the London Office.

[14] Murray STEWART. He joined HSBC in 1887, went East in 1890 and was a bullion broker. He worked with JACKSON in Hong Kong and was an assistant to ADDIS at HSBC, London. He was brother of Gershom STEWART, another HSNC staffer.

[15] Henry Edward Ranson HUNTER (1859-1923)  He went East in 1882, was sub-manager to SMITH in 1902, and Manager of Shanghai in 1911 during the revolution. He then retired to London and became a director of Hambro’s Bank and the Imperial Bank of Persia. He was an uncle of Kathleen HUNTER who married Thomas Jackson’s son Walter David Russell JACKSON. He was born in Inverness, Scotland and died in London. His probate gives 2 addresses: 59A Brook-St Grosvenor Square, Westminster, Middlesex and The Thatched Cottage (A Conservative Club that Thomas Jackson also belonged to).

[16] E.H. OXLEY He came East in 1874 to work for HSBC in Hong Kong, and retired in 1903.

[17] J. De Bernièr SMITH

[18] Sir Carl Ferdinand MEYER (1851-1922) was a German-born director of HSBC, became a British citizen in 1877, and spoke out against the German military during WWI. In 1883 he married Adèle, daughter of Julius Levis.

[19] John aka “Jack” SWIRE (1861-1933) was the eldest son and successor to John Samuel SWIRE (1825-1898) of Butterfield & Swire.

[20] Douglas JONES (Was this H.D.C. Jones (1863-), an exchange banker with HSBC?

[21] Thomas McCullagh BROWNE (1857-1937) a cousin of Sir Thomas JACKSON, an long-time HSBC manager in the Far East..

[22] My hunch is that he was Henry Lee ROWETT (1844-1922). As described by F.E. NICHOLL in abt 1910: ‘Uncle’ A Dickens character in frock coat and silk hat with a wide brim. Suffered from senile decay and was almost reduced to tears if thwarted. Titular head of the Share Department because no one had the heart to turn him off. SOURCE: Frank H.H. King. Vol ii, p177.


[24] Duncan H. MACINTOSH went from HSBC London Office in 1883 to Singapore. In 1911, he was head of the Tientsin branch of HSBC. He may be the Duncan MACINTOSH who died August 4, 1955. SOURCE: Will probate.

[25] Sir John C. PETER. He went East to work with HSBC in 1884.He served in Singapore 1911-1922.

[26] At least in Ireland in this era, it was not uncommon for the widow to not attend the funeral. Nothing more should be read into this. Amelia Lydia JACKSON (1851-1944)

[27] Thomas Dare JACKSON (1876-1954). He married in 1919.

[28] Claude Stewart “Pat” JACKSON (1892-1917). He would be killed at Ypres in 1917.

[29] George Julius JACKSON. He was nicknamed “Joo”. At time of his father’s probate in March 3, 1916 he was resident at 39 Palace Gardens Terrace, Kensington (home of Townsends). Also of Great Pasbrooke Farm,Titchfield, Hants, England.

[30] Dorothy St.. Felix JACKSON (1887-1964). She became active in the Bloomsbury group.

[31] Beatrice Minnis Shrieve JACKSON (1879-1972). She was widowed with a seven year old son, her husband having died in 1914 of wounds in the war.

[32] Walter David Russell JACKSON (1890-1956). He was the father of the current Sir Michael JACKSON who inherited the baronetcy.

[33] Major Albert Maitland TABOR (1872-1941), later of Bovington Hall, Bocking, Essex.

[34] His eventual wife was the redoubtable Mary Lillian Vera Massy LLOYD (1891-1975).

[35] Aka Alfred Markham TOWNSEND (1847-1939),

  • Born in Grassby, Parish of Searby, Lincolnshire, son of Thomas Jackson Milnes TOWNSEND (1819-1890), Vicar of Searby & his wife Sarah. He was the 2nd son of 10 children.
  • A.M. TOWNSEND was manager of the London branch & director of the London Board of HSBC, & also the father of Ethel Mary TOWNSEND who married another HSBC manager, Newton John STABB.
  • In July 1870, Thomas Jackson greeted him when his boat decked in Yokohama. It was early enough that Thomas Jackson was still in his pyjamas.
  • PROBATE for an Alfred Markham TOWNSEND of 29 Palace-gate, Kensington who died 16 April 1839 with probate to William Walter STABB, barrister of law & Josephine Eleanor BLACKWELL wife of Thomas Charles BLACKWELL. Effects £33,529 6s 6d. NOTE: Josephine was his daughter Josephine Eleanor TOWNSEND born 1881 in New Jersey USA.
  • In the 1911 Census, he is 64 years old, living at 16 Hans Mansions, London S W, & had been married for 35 years to Mary Alice & they had 6 children, 4 of whom were still living.
  • His wife was Mary Alice HOUCHEN, of Thetford, Norfolk. She died Nov 4, 1940.
  • One of their sons, Sydney John TOWNSEND, listed as an insurance broker in the 1911 Census, had died in 1915 & was buried at Ypres: 2nd Life Guards. 13th May 1915. Age 31. He was born abt 1884 in Garden City, Long Isl&, USA.
  • News: June 6, 1902: Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation. —The following changes in the management are announced Mr. John Waiter retires from the active service of the Bank from 31st ult., & becomes a member of the London Committee. Mr. H. T. S. Green also retires to take up a more important appointment in San Francisco. The following appointments have been made by the Directors, viz. .—Mr. Alfred Markham Townsend, late Agent for the Bank in New York, to be a Manager; & Mr. George William Butt, late Manager for the Bank at Singapore, to be Acting Sub-Manager at the London office
  • News Jan 8, 1876: Jan 4 Townsend-Houchen-At St Cuthbert's, Thetford, by the Rev B Houchen, rector of Newton (uncle of the bride), assisted by the Rev T J M Townsend, vicar of Searby, Lincolnshire (father or the bridegroom), Alfred Markham Townsend, agent of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, at Hankow, China, to Mary Alice, second daughter of John Houchen, Esq, of The Limes, Thetford, Norfolk,


[36] PIKE

[37] BERGI

[38] Sid’s diary?



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