William Robinson (colonial administrator, born 1836)

Sir William Robinson GCMG (Chinese: 羅便臣; 9 February 1836 – 1 December 1912)[1] was a British colonial governor who was the last Governor of Trinidad and the first Governor of the merged colony of Trinidad and Tobago. He was also the 11th Governor of Hong Kong.[2]

William Robinson
11th Governor of Hong Kong
In office
10 December 1891  25 November 1898
Lieutenant GovernorMG Sir George Barker
MG Sir Wilsone Black
Colonial SecretaryFrancis Fleming
G.T.M. O'Brien
Sir Stewart Lockhart
Preceded bySir William Des Vœux
Succeeded bySir Henry Arthur Blake
Personal details
Born9 February 1836
Wetherden, Suffolk, England
Died1 December 1912 (1913-01) (aged 76)
28 Evelyn Mansions, Carlisle Place, London, England
Juliana Sophia Dampier
(m. 1862; died 1881)

Felicia Ida Helen Rattray
(m. 1884; died 1894)
ProfessionColonial administrator
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese羅便臣
Simplified Chinese罗便臣

Early life and colonial services

Robinson was born in 1836 in Suffolk, England. He was the eldest son of the Rev. Isaac Banks Robinson and Jane Susan (née Syer). He entered the Colonial Office at age 18 as a clerk, and within several years served as private secretary to Herman Merivale, Frederic Rogers and Edward Cardwell.[2]

He became a Member of Slave Trade Commission in 1869 and was appointed Governor of Bahama Isles from 1874 to 1880. A year later, Robinson was appointed governor of the Windward Islands, a position he held until 1884. Afterwards, he became Governor of Barbados, and was transferred to become the Governor of Trinidad a year later. In 1889 the colony of Tobago was merged with Trinidad into the united colony of Trinidad and Tobago, with Robinson as its first governor, a position he held until 1891.[2]

Governor of Hong Kong

In 1891, Robinson was appointed Governor of Hong Kong, a position he served until 1898 and later became his last post in the Colonial Services. During his tenure, Sun Yet-Sen graduated from the colony's Medical School. Also, Robinson received the thanks of the Hong Kong government for the settlement of the Fanny Josephine affair (Venezuela).[2]

Personal life

Robinson married twice. He married his first wife, Julia Sophia Dampier, 17 July 1862 at St. Saviour's Church, Paddington. The couple had three sons. She died in 1881 and Robinson married Felicia Ida Helen Rattray three years later, 21 July 1884 in Nassau. She died ten years later and is buried in Hong Kong Cemetery. The couple had three daughters. Robinson himself died of heart disease on 1 December 1912 in London.[2]


Places named after him

Robinson Road, a major thoroughfare in Nassau, Bahamas, is named after Sir William Robinson, during whose term it was laid out. Despite public perceptions to the contrary, there are no places in Hong Kong named after Sir William Robinson. Places in Hong Kong with the name Robinson were actually named for an earlier Governor, Hercules Robinson, later the 1st Baron Rosmead. Robinson, Mark Aitchison Young and Christopher Patten are the only former Governors of Hong Kong who have nothing in Hong Kong named in their honour.

See also


  1. "Past Governor of Trinidad and Tobago Sir William Robinson".
  2. "Sir William Robinson". The Times. 3 December 1912. p. 9.
  3. "No. 24464". The London Gazette. 30 May 1877. p. 3442.
  4. "No. 10895". The Edinburgh Gazette. 25 June 1897. p. 591.
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