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Alexander Grantham

Sir Alexander William George Herder Grantham, GCMG (葛量洪 1899–1978) was a British colonial administrator who governed Hong Kong and Fiji.

Alexander Grantham

15th High Commissioner for the Western Pacific
In office
1 January 1945 – 1947
MonarchGeorge VI
Preceded by(vacant)
Succeeded bySir Brian Freeston
17th Governor of Fiji
In office
1 January 1945 – 1947
MonarchGeorge VI
Preceded bySir Philip Mitchell
Succeeded bySir Brian Freeston
22nd Governor of Hong Kong
In office
25 July 1947 – 31 December 1957
MonarchGeorge VI
Elizabeth II
Colonial SecretaryDavid Mercer MacDougall
John Fearns Nicoll
Sir Robert Brown Black
Edgeworth Beresford David
Preceded bySir Mark Aitchison Young
Succeeded bySir Robert Brown Black
Personal details
Born(1899-03-15)15 March 1899
London, England
Died4 October 1978(1978-10-04) (aged 79)
London, England
Spouse(s)Maurine Samson
1925-1970 (her death)
M. E. Lumley
1972-1978 (his death)
RelationsWarren de la Rue
Thomas de la Rue
Sir William Grantham
Alma materRoyal Military College, Sandhurst, Pembroke College, Cambridge, Imperial Defence College
OccupationSoldier, Colonial administrator

Early life, colonial administration careerEdit

Grantham was born on 15 March 1899 and was educated at Wellington, the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and Pembroke College, Cambridge.

He was gazetted in the 18th Hussars in 1917 and joined the Colonial Administrative Service in Hong Kong in 1922. He was the Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong for a short period in 1933. In 1934, he was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple and attended the Imperial Defence College later that year.

Grantham became Colonial Secretary of Bermuda from 1935 to 1938, and of Jamaica from 1938 to 1941. He then served as Chief Secretary of Nigeria from 1941 to 1944 and as Governor of Fiji and High Commissioner for the Western Pacific from 1945 to 1947.

Immediately after his tenure as High Commissioner ended, he became Governor of Hong Kong, until 1957. He opposed his predecessor, Sir Mark Young's proposal of expanding social services on the ground that the local Chinese population cared little about social welfare.[1]

Legacy of governorshipEdit

His tenure marked the beginning of a unitary housing policy by the Hong Kong Government. In December 1953, a fire burned down a large slum area in Shek Kip Mei, Kowloon, killing nine and leaving many homeless. It was under Grantham's administration that the government began to build settlement houses for the homeless. From that point on, the government was deeply involved in low-cost public housing programmes that allowed many Hong Kong people who could not afford to own a flat to live in government-owned housing estates at relatively low cost. The housing programme eventually evolved over time to allow people to buy low-cost housing and receive favourable loans to buy their own houses.


Personal lifeEdit

Grantham was married twice. His first marriage, in 1925, was to the well-travelled Maurine Samson, daughter of the late Amos Roland Samson and Liberty "Libby" Cole (Neal) of Champaign County, Illinois. Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, she had lived in Boise, Seattle, San Francisco and Honolulu before their marriage. The Governor's official yacht, a Hong Kong health clinic and a locomotive were all named "Lady Maurine" after her.[2] After she died in 1970, Grantham married Mrs M. E. Lumley in 1972. Grantham died on 4 October 1978.

Places/facilities named after himEdit

See alsoEdit

References and bibliographyEdit

  1. ^ Goodstadt, Leo F. (2004). "The Rise and Fall of Social, Economic and Political Reforms in Hong Kong, 1930—1955". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch. 44: 66.
  2. ^ a b The Kowloon Canton Railway (British Section) Part 5 – The Post War Years (1945 to 1978), Tymon, IHHKG, 9 June 2016
  • Alexander Grantham (1965). Via ports, from Hong Kong to Hong Kong. Hong Kong University Press.

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Philip Euen Mitchell
Governor of Fiji
Succeeded by
Sir Brian Freeston
Title last held by
Sir Harry Luke
High Commissioner for the Western Pacific
Preceded by
Sir Mark Aitchison Young
Governor of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Brown Black