Frederick Anderson was born in Milton, Glasgow, a few miles north of the city centre on 17 November 1855. He was the eighth of 11 children born to James and Jane Anderson who were aged 44 and 39 respectively when he was born. His eldest sibling was brother James, aged 17 at the time of his birth.
The 1871 census shows the family, with Frederick aged 15, living south of the border in Wilmslow, Cheshire at 167 Hough Lane, along with four domestic staff. By now the elder siblings were in their late 20s and early 30s and were no longer within the household which still included seven Anderson children, the eldest being John who was following in his father’s footsteps as a cloth merchant. Frederick had also started his business career being listed as a commercial clerk.
Frederick was schooled at the Glasgow Academy, a famous rugby playing school, and later at Hawthorn Hall in Wilmslow. Perhaps it was at the English school that he learned to play association football, although the 1871 census shows he had left the school by the time he was 15 years old.
Frederick Anderson's Marriage record 4 June 1896 in Kensington, London
Foreigners ran the treaty port of Shanghai primarily for the benefit of themselves. Most foreigners were not subject to Chinese law, instead being subject to their own country’s law in a system called extraterritoriality. The Shanghai Municipal Government controlled the treaty port, being responsible for health, law and order, transport, the local militia and during Anderson’s time the licencing of opium shops and dens. Each year a small group of ratepayers, those people that owned enough property in Shanghai, elected a new Council. Chinese people were not allowed on the council despite the fact that only 2 – 3% of the population of the treaty port was actually non-Chinese. Anderson served on this elite body from 1892 to 1894, 1897 to 1899 and 1904 to 1905. He was the Chairman of the Council in 1899 and 1904 - 1905.
The Municipal Council were often in dispute with the British Government’s Foreign Office. The Shanghai Municipal Council under Anderson’s control was no exception. A recently published book throws fascinating light on the troublesome relationship between the government and the council and gives hints, albeit one-sided about Anderson’s character. Ernest Satow a career diplomat, served as British Minister in Peking from 1900–1906 and therefore had extensive dealings with Anderson. This period was a very sensitive time in the relationship between China and the European powers. The events of the Boxer Rebellion (1899 – 1901) and the Siege of the Legations in Peking by the Boxers were recent in the memory of foreigners in Shanghai and they were still nervous of the nationalist violence that had been unleashed. In his ‘semi-official’ letters, Satow had little time for the council and was dismissive of Anderson. For example, writing a letter in 1900, venting his frustration about Anderson’s view that the UK government should be more interventionalist in protecting Shanghai’s interests he wrote, ‘Shanghai seems penetrated with a sense of superior knowledge & wisdom that ignores everybody & everything outside its own circumference.’ In 1905 Satow’s frustration was undiminished, ‘The fact is that the Municipal Council overrates its importance, and the chairman is a peculiarly obstinate person who is convinced that he possesses the gifts of a statesman in a more than ordinary measure. He is known among his friends as Silly Anderson. The temper of Shanghai may be gauged by the fact that… the editor of the leading paper [North China Herald] …not long ago printed the statement that the International Settlement is an independent republic established on a small portion of the soil of China.’ In 1906, in dismissing a letter written by ‘F. “Silly” Anderson’ to Satow, he wrote, ‘I only mention these absurd suggestions to show what sort of harebrained people can arrive at the position of Chairman of the Municipal Council.’
Despite the suggestion that his friends referred to him as ‘Silly’ behind his back, there is no disputing that for many in Shanghai, Anderson was well liked and was considered to have done a good job for Shanghailanders. He was after all a product of Shanghai, he lived with, played sport with, clubbed with and socialised with the leading businessmen of Shanghai for more than twenty-five years. It was natural that he shared their values, values infamously referred to as the ‘The Shanghai Mind’ by Arthur Ransome some eighteen years after Anderson had left Shanghai.
When Anderson left Shanghai in 1909, a dinner was held in his honour attended by 80 friends. In a speech of thanks for his service to the city, it was noted that during his time on the council among his many achievements the most notable were the building of new waterworks, the introduction of the telephone exchange and the construction of a tram system.
Most Shanghailanders at some time in their Shanghai life returned ‘home’ on a furlough, typically for a year It was during one such furlough, aged 40 that Anderson was married in Kensington, London to Sophia Louisa Ward (1871–1967), a lady fifteen years his junior. Anderson’s mother in law was only 10 years older than Anderson. Sophia was the daughter of Admiral Thomas Le Hunte Ward. The married couple went onto have four children, Frederick Le Hunte Anderson (1898 – 1989), Helen Sophia Anderson (1902 - 1983), Jean Elspeth Anderson (1905 – 1993) and Margaret Alice Anderson (1907 - 1982).
In cricket as well as football and rugby, an annual game was played in Shanghai between me from Scotland and men from England. Above is the team from 1884. Standing at the back, fourth from left is E S Perrot and England rugby international
Match report from Glasgow vs Sheffield played 14 March 1874 featuring the scoring exploits of Anderson
Having relinquished his onerous duties on the council, Anderson was offered the role of President of the Shanghai Cricket Club, no doubt in recognition of his years of service to the Club (if not the runs he scored). He accepted. Later in the year, Anderson was asked to become the second President of the Shanghai Rugby Football Club. The club which had been formed the year before when it broke away from the fourth Shanghai Football Club had just lost its first President Hiram Shaw Wilkinson who was leaving Shanghai. As it turned out Anderson only served one year, he too left Shanghai for a while on his final furlough. In 1906, Anderson was succeeded by the club’s third President, Albert W. Burkill who served until 1935!
Anderson returned to Shanghai after one year away for what would be his last 18 months in Shanghai. He finally left Shanghai for good in early May 1909 on the P&O Steamer Malta, seen off by a large gathering of friends. At a farewell dinner Anderson reflected on his time in Shanghai, his comments reported in the North China Herald; ‘Those who had lived in Shanghai for so many years and had seen it grow could hardly realize how many changes had taken place in the community... Looking backward he recalled that when he came here Shanghai had no water supply except the water brought from the river by coolies, it had no electric light, no electric fans, no ice except that obtained from the paddy fields this side of Range Road [Wujin Road], no licensed laundries, no permanent Health Officer to tell us our dangers, no motor cars, no tramways, and no pari-mutuel at the Races (Laughter). There were very few Iadies then, and when a youngster arrived everyone discussed his qualifications.
Showing his innate conservatism, a trait that had served him well, Anderson offered some predictable advice, saying that ‘if he might presume to offer any advice it would be to stick to the old lines, and to adhere to those methods of administration which had stood the test of the past. It was their duty to back up the Chairman of the Council, his colleagues, and the permanent officials.’, comments that earned him loud applause.
Anderson maintained his connections with China in the years following his return to England. In 1910 he was the President of the China Association, a body formed in 1889 to lobby the British Government and the authorities in China on behalf of its members in China, Japan and Hong Kong. .
The UK Census of 1911 shows him living at 54 Queen’s Gate in South Kensington in London, a short walk from the Royal Albert Hall. The property is now a boutique, 26 roomed hotel. Living with him was his wife, three daughters and his mother in law. Also, sharing his house were a cook, a butler, three housemaids, a footman and a nurse. His son was at boarding school at St Peter's Court, a prep school for boys, in Broadstairs, Kent.
He certainly was a good ‘soccer’ player, emerging onto the Scottish football scene in the early 1870s playing for Clydesdale in the very early days of association football in Scotland. During this time, from 1870 to 1872, there was a series of five unofficial England vs Scotland matches played in London. The Scottish team was comprised of Scottish exiles living in England and was therefore not a fully representative Scottish team but it certainly raised the profile of football. The first official international, with Scottish based players was played in Scotland on 30 November 1872 against England. The result a nil all draw.
By December 1873, Anderson had attracted the attention of the Scottish Football Association and was selected to play in what appears to have been an early trials football match in Edinburgh. The match, played at the Royal High School Club, featured twenty-two players who were considered ‘the élite of Scottish Association members’. Frederick, who was a member of the Clydesdale Football Club was selected as a forward in one of the teams.
The following year, on 7 March 1874, he earned his sole Scottish international football cap in what was only the third official international football match played. The match was played in his home city of Glasgow at Hamilton Crescent. In the match, Anderson scored the first Scottish goal bringing the scores level and contributing to the ultimate 2:1 victory for Scotland.
Frederick Anderson pictured c 1905
Left: Detail from above showing Anderson
Right: Detail from below showing Anderson
Note he is weaing the same cap.
Above: Frederic Anderson laying the Foundation plaque at the Palace Hotel in 1904
Below: The Palace Hotel, Shanghai
The 1885 Scottish and English Cricket teams in Shanghai
Above: The plaque marking the gift of Frederic Anderson & friends to the School of Oriental Studies.
Right: Standen Manor Circa 1912
Continuing his interest in China, Anderson was a governor of The School of Oriental Studies (now SOAS) from 1917 until 1939. The school records him as being an internationally well-known art collector and scholar in Chinese ceramics. In October 1923, a library at the school was named after him and two Chinese colleagues, Yoh Ping Han (郁 屏 翰) and Tseng Hiang Yu (鄭 良 裕) who were compradors in Shanghai in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In 1922 he bought Standen Manor, a mansion built in 1732, located near Hungerford in Berkshire. The house remained with the family until they sold it in 1981. During the Second World War, the house was requisitioned and occupied by troops of the 101st US Airborne division during the 10-11 months prior to D-Day. According to local history, the men were visited by their supreme commander, General Eisenhower, on the evening of the 5th June 1944 prior to their departure to France, this event may be confused with an actual visit by the General to Hungerford in August 1940. This was all too late for Frederic, he died on 5 January 1940 leaving behind a substantial estate with a probate value of £261,652.
The Scottish FA states that Anderson retired from playing around 1881. This timescale fits in with his move to the Far East. He appeared in the 1882 Hong List, a directory of residents and businesses which would have been printed in 1881. We know that he was in Shanghai by at least January 1882 where he is recorded playing in a rugby match. In March 1882, he was serving as the Secretary of the Shanghai Cricket Club which would indicate he had been in the city long enough to take on this responsibility. He had come to Shanghai to work for Messrs. Holliday, Wise & Company with whom he stayed until 1890 when he joined Messrs. Ilbert & Company, eventually becoming its principal partner.
Strangely, I have found only one mention of Anderson playing association football while in Shanghai. Anderson made an appearance for the Shanghai Country Club against the Shanghai Athletic Club. The reporter noted that, ‘Anderson, who has not played for years, showed very good form, and, with practice, would hold his own with the best.’ This suggests that he had played football when he first arrived in Shanghai but the absence of his name appearing in print shows that he was not playing in matches worthy of reporting and certainly not in any interport fixtures.
One week later, Anderson was selected for what was originally described as a Scotland team but was finally designated a Glasgow team (but still featured nine players who had played in the international). The match was against the Sheffield Association; pioneers of football in England and hugely influential in the development of the rules of association football. Played at Bramall Lane in front of more than 5,000 spectators, the match was played under ‘Sheffield Rules’ which differed from those that the Scots men were used to playing under, leaving them at a disadvantage. Once again, the English team took an early lead and again, Anderson was on hand to equalise, his goal described as follows in the match report; ‘After a short struggle the ball was passed from McNeill to Anderson who cleverly “headed” it between the posts just out of reach of Carr the goal keeper.’ The game ended a tie with the teams each scoring two goals.
After the match, the Glasgow team were entertained at the Adelphia Hotel, where they ‘sat down to an excellent dinner… a particularly pleasant evening was spent, the visitors not only being about the best football players, but decidedly the best singers that have visited Sheffield with any football club. The evening’s entertainment was brought to a close by singing “Auld Lang Syne” in the approved Scotch fashion.’
In what was a truly historic month of football for Anderson, the following week he appeared in the first Scottish Football Association Cup Final! The match took place at Hampden Park on 21 March 1874 and was contested by Queen's Park, a team Anderson had previously played for, and Clydesdale his current team. Played in front of 2,500 spectators, Queen’s Park were victorious by two goals to one.
Strangely, after such a momentous season of football, I have found Anderson’s name only one more time in the newspapers. The last mention was in another Glasgow versus Sheffield match two years later, this time against a Sheffield Wednesday XI in Glasgow. Anderson’s performance earned himself numerous mentions in the match report. The contest was played in front of more than 4,000 spectators, which included ‘a highly respectable audience, amongst whom there was a liberal sprinkling of ladies.’ For the record, Glasgow won the match 2:0.
Above: Anderson first worked for Holliday, Wise & Co until 1890 when he left to join Ilbert & Co :Left
He is mentioned playing in two games of rugby, the first in January 1882 when he turned out for the Shanghai Rowing Club against the Second Shanghai Football Club. Four years later, the week after his only football mention, his name appears again in a rugby team list. This time he was representing his country, playing for the Shanghai ‘Scottish’ team against the Shanghai ‘English’.
Shanghai’s newspaper records show that Cricket was the main sport played by Frederick. He played regularly for years and was eventually elected the as the Shanghai Cricket Club President many years later. He represented Shanghai in an interport cricket match against Hong Kong in 1889. This was the fourth time that Shanghai had met Hong Kong on the cricket field and the first time since 1867. The occasion was notable because it was very delayed be several weeks by very wet weather. Pragmatically the interport dinner, organised by Anderson in his role as Club Secretary, was held before any cricket was played. It was a lavish affair held at the Shanghai Club with the town band in attendance who played a full programme while the guests were eating and drinking. Included on the programme was contemporary music of the day including selections from operas such as Verdi’s Aida, Sullivan’s Iolanthe and dance music such as the Strauss waltz Greeting (on English Airs). After the speeches, a prearranged sing along was undertaken with members of the audience taking turns to play and sing a wide selection of old and new songs.
Match report of third official international played between Scotland and England on 7 March 1874 featuring Frederic Anderson
After the dinner, the weather did not improve! The Hong Kong team were forced to wait in Shanghai for a full seventeen days before they got to play the interport fixture. Looking at the score card, it would seem that Anderson’s place in the team was due more to grace and favour than through merit. He did not bowl and batted at a lowly number seven scoring a 3 and a 5 in his two innings. Regardless, Shanghai won the match by three wickets.
Anderson was also a member of the Shanghai Rowing Club, regularly taking to the water but without making any representative teams. In common with many men from the social elite of Shanghai, Anderson was also a horseman, associated mostly with a horse called Equity riding around the countryside of Shanghai. As seen above, Anderson immersed himself fully into the sporting world of Shanghai, an immersion which allowed him to progress socially, a progression also helped by his membership of the prominent gentleman’s clubs. In Shanghai, he was a member of the Country Club and the Shanghai Club, while his London membership included the Caledonian Club, the Ranelagh [Polo] Club and the Thatched House Club.
It was not all sporting activities and social clubs, he was also a member of the Shanghai Literary and Debating Society. On at least one occasion he was a key speaker in a debate. The subject of which was, ‘Would the adoption of Bimetallism by a considerable number of nations give stability to the exchanges between gold and silver using Countries and would it otherwise be generally advantageous. Anderson took the affirmative position while a Mr. G. J. Morrison the opposite position. The debate was reported in considerable detail, verbatim across two weeks in the North China Herald. I’ll save you the detail… suffice to say that Anderson won the debate.
The 1871 census showing Anderson living in Wilmslow with family an servants
Above: Extract fom the 1911 Census showing the Anderson family and staff living in London.
Below: The grand entrance of the house as it looks today, now a boutique hotel.
Below is a link to YouTube where you can hear the song 'I'll Sing Thee Songs of Araby'. A song sung at the Interport Cricket Dinner in 1889
‘‘Pioneering Scottish Footballer’’
Frederick Anderson (1855 – 1940)
A source referenced copy of the text below is available on request
President Shanghai Rugby Football Club (1905 – 1906)
Player for second Shanghai Football Club (1882 – 1886)
On his return to the Far East he resumed his life in Shanghai, spending less time playing cricket but still very active for the council and the China Association and, of course, enjoying his new family life. His home in this period was listed in the local directory as being "Erroll," located at 167 Bubbling Well Road, one of the roads where the elite of Shanghai lived. One day in 1905, in his final year on the council, wearing a top hat and tails, he left his mansion and headed towards the Bund going down Bubbling Well Road which turned into Nanjing Road. Just before reaching the Bund, he stopped at the building site of the luxurious Palace Hotel, it was here that Anderson lay down the foundation stone, an event recorded in posterity in a cartoon in the Eastern Sketch magazine. The building still stands today on the intersection of Nanking Road and the Bund, opposite the Peace Hotel.
Extract of the 1901 census which shows Anderson living in London with his wife, three year old son and two servants at Queen Street in Westminster, London.