A North Borneo Chartered Company portrait of W B Pryer around 1899
William Burgess Pryer (1843 - 1899)
The William Pryer Memorial at Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia:
W B Pryer - taken from a 1867 team photo of the Shanghai Scottish team
One of the first Shanghai Football Club’s Secretary's was Mr William Burgess Pryer. He served in the role in 1869 and 1870 arrived in Shanghai in 1864 as a bookkeeper for Thorne Brothers. He was also treasurer of the Asiatic Society in 1870.
He was a fine athlete and evidently a strong man. At a sham fight with the Navy, two sailors tried to take him prisoner. He surprised them by picking them both up and making them prisoners.
His main claim to fame however was as the first white man and resident in British North Borneo (now the state of Sabah, East Malaysia). He spent the rest of his life in the territory dying at the age of sixty in 1899. His fascinating story was documented by his wife in a book published in 1894 titled ‘A Decade in North Borneo’.
The book about Pryer written by his wife Ada