Fergusson & Co

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Correspondence, title deeds and other legal documents and plans, relating to property interests in Chefoo [Yantai], China, formerly owned by the trading firm, Fergusson & Co, founded in 1861. Also, a few photographs of St Mary's Church at Chefoo and correspondence, in French, concerning the death in 1936 of the Vicaire Apostolique of Chefoo, Monsiegneur Adodat Wittner who died in 1936 and a copy of a pamphlet entitled Sovereignty of China over Annam, and International Law by Thomas Fergusson, Chefoo n.d. .

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Tierney Fergusson founded the trading firm of Fergusson & Co in 1861 following the establishment of a treaty port at Chefoo [Yantai]. Until 1889 he traded alone but then went into partnership with John Pender Wake. According to Frances Wood, author of No dogs and not many Chinese: Treaty port life in China 1843-1943, 'Chefoo was never much of a trading port, with only four foreign trading firms (three of them British) active in 1891, shipping beancake, vermicelli, peanuts, silks, hairnets, lace and fruits.' During his time in Chefoo Fergusson was a staunch supporter of the Catholic St Mary's Church and of the Catholic Mission there. Fergusson went on leave to England in 1889, dying there unexpectedly, on 22nd November 1890. The firm Fergusson & Co continued under new ownership for a number of years but Fergusson's property was managed through agents in China, first by his widow, Anna Fergusson and, after her death, in 1908 by his daughter Anne Marie Madeleine, wife of Admiral Sir Charles Henry Coke. During Lady Coke's life the property was sold off in various lots, the last being sold in 1940.

Arrangement

Correspondence has been arranged chronologically with photographs, plans and documents being placed in separate folders.

Conditions Governing Access

Unrestricted

Acquisition Information

Donated by Colonel J.C. d'E. Coke, great- grandson of the founder of Fergusson & Co.

Other Finding Aids

This description constitutes the only finding aid at present.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Rosemary Seton, Archivist, SOAS.

Conditions Governing Use

No publication without written permission. Apply to Archivist in first instance.