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13 January 2015

A Man Overlooked: A Faded Memory of a Glorious Career

Who was this man who:

Graduated from Edinburgh University in 1880 as Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery
Studied in Paris under Professor Jean Martin Charcot at the Salpêtrière
Studied in Vienna under Professor Albert 
Undertook private studies at Cambridge and St. Thomas’s Hospital, London
Was appointed a member of the Royal College of Surgeons
Founded the firm Jordan, Forsyth, Grove and Aubrey, Hong Kong medical practitioners
Was Acting Colonial Surgeon in Hong Kong
Was Chief Health Officer in Hong Kong
Was one of the original founders of the Hongkong College of Medicine and a lecturer
Was the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Hong Kong University from its foundation
Was a founding original member of the University of Hong Kong
Was a lecturer, and Pater Professor, of Tropical Medicine at Hong Kong University
Was the Vice Chancellor of Hong Kong University
Headed a successful and thriving private medical practice in Hong Kong
In 1915 during the Great War he was a Surgeon Major of the Hongkong Police Reserve later appointed to Surgeon Superintendent
Was a Senior Official Justice of the Peace in Hong Kong
Was a Past Master of the Masonic Perseverance Lodge Hong Kong
Was a District Grand Master Scottish Freemasonry Hongkong and South China

A remarkable summary of someone with a most extraordinary life.

What nationality was this high achieving man?

Where did he come from?
Calcutta, India

What was his name?
Doctor Gregory Paul Jordan M.B., C.M. Ed., M.R.C.S. Eng.

Who was he?
One of two nephews in Hong Kong of Sir Catchick Paul Chater.

Gregory Paul Jordan was born in Calcutta on the 6th November 1856 and baptised in the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth in the city on the 24th February 1856[1].  The youngest child of eight born to Jordan Paul Jordan and Anna nee Chater.  Anna was the eldest sibling of Catchick Paul Chater separated by 17 years between them. Anna married in 1845[2] before her brother was born in 1846. Their parents both died relatively young, their father in 1853 and their mother in 1855. Anna, the eldest of 13 siblings was thrust into the role of mother to the younger one; Hosannah, Catchick, Sophia and Joseph. By the time their mother died in 1855, Anna also had seven of her own children to nurture, all where born in Calcutta and baptised at the Armenian Church.[3]

Baptism Register entry from the Armenian Church Register of Calcutta
Photo: Liz Chater private collection

Gregory Paul Jordan’s father Jordan Paul Jordan was a stock and share broker in Hong Kong and the Far East[4]. Hailing from the mercantile Jordan clan of Madras and prior to that the family, like so many, came to India from New Julfa. Unlike Catchick Paul Chater who was orphaned at seven[5], Gregory Jordan and his siblings enjoyed family life with both parents who cared and protected them although Anna did the lions share of parenting. Catchick Chater and his brother Joseph were swept up by Anna and became part of her Jordan family. Although Gregory Jordan and Catchick Paul Chater were nephew and uncle there was only 10 years between them and they grew up like brothers.

It would seem that Jordan Paul Jordan was based out in Hong Kong and Shanghai for some considerable time[6], travelling regularly back to Calcutta, all eight of his children were born between 1846 and 1856 in Calcutta where it seems that Anna based herself. However, by 1863 the Jordan family were in Hong Kong and in 1864 Catchick Paul Chater sailed on the Armenian ship ‘Lightning’ from Calcutta belonging to the Apcar Shipping Line and went to join them.

Gregory ‘s early kindergarden education was clearly in Calcutta yet it seems the Jordan family did not stay long in Hong Kong and by 1865 had returned to Calcutta where he continued his education and later enrolling in a local medical college.  Anna died in 1870[7] when Gregory was 14 years of age, his father Jordan died five years later[8].

Like many others in India seeking an education and better future, Gregory Jordan later enrolled at Edinburgh University as a medical student. By the time the 1881 census[9] was taken Gregory had graduated and is described on the census return as lodging with George and Agnes Richie  “a Bachelor Of Medicine & Master Of Surgery (Edinbro University) (Now Practising) Extraordinary Member Royal Medical Society Edinburgh”. 

The 1881 Scottish census with Gregory Jordan
staying with the Richie family
 Around 1883, hopping from one end of Great Britain to the other he was appointed resident surgeon at the Dorset County Hospital on the South Coast of England. By 1885 Gregory had been admitted as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England having completed further medical studies at St. Thomas’s hospital in London, privately in  Cambridge, and then in Vienna and at La Salpetriere in Paris under the renown neurologist Charcot.9 below

On the 26th May 1885 Dr. Gregory Jordan accompanied by his uncle Joseph T. Chater arrived in Hong Kong on the S.S. Oceanic from San Francisco[10]. Gregory’s other uncle Paul Chater[11] was by now established and successfully positioned in the colony to be able to call in a favour or two should Gregory require it.  As it turned out, it wasn’t required and he began a career where he was clearly able to stand and be recognised on his own merits. By the middle of 1885 the Hong Kong Government Gazette announced that Gregory Paul Jordan of Caine Road was qualified to practise in Hong Kong and his name had been added to the Register of Medical and Surgical Practitioners.

Dr. Gregory Jordan's first entry in the
Hongkong government Gazette
By 1886 Gregory Jordan was Hong Kong acting port Health Officer conducting his duties with professionalism and diligence. That led on to him being given the post as acting Colonial Surgeon because the incumbent was returning home for a holiday. Gregory also approached this new position with great professionalism, and all achieved by the age of 30. Circumstances dictated that Gregory Jordan eventually took over as permanent Hong Kong Health Officer of the port in 1888, a post he entered into with great enthusiasm because he too, just like his uncle had simply been completely captivated by Hong Kong, it’s people and the allure of the Fragrant Harbour. Simply put, he held Hong Kong dear to his heart and wanted to do what he could to help the people be it local Chinese people or foreign settlers, in short he had great plans.

Hongkong Government Gazette notification
of Dr. Jordan's appointment to Acting Health Officer
 The Alice Memorial Hospital was one of the schemes that he was involved with. Throwing his energies into anything medicine based on the island Gregory took on a punishing routine of round the clock commitments of the Port Health Officer as well as running a successful private practice along with various public service roles and much needed education of up and coming medical professionals. The Alice Memorial Hospital was largely funded by the London Missionary Society and barrister-doctor Kai Ho Kai in memory of his English wife Alice.  Gregory Jordan attended the foundation stone laying ceremony and he was mentioned and thanked in the speeches as one of four civil practitioners who had volunteered their professional help to get the Alice Memorial hospital going. It was further announced that a medical school was to be attached to the hospital where “European medicine and science may be studied”. This was the beginning of the Hong Kong College of Medicine that Gregory helped to set up with Dr. Patrick Manson, and Drs. Young and Hartigan.[12]

The two Jordan brothers listed in the Hongkong
Government Gazette in 1889
 He worked ceaselessly on the island through numerous outbreaks of cholera and plague; in fact it is a miracle that he did not succumb to any serious illness because it was his responsibility to board the many ships, boats and sampans arriving in and out of Hong Kong harbor on a daily basis. There could be up to 15 passenger ships a day each containing several hundred travelers and he was tasked to board each of them and assess their health as they disembarked.  Having worked and dedicated 15 years of his life without a break to the health of Hong Kong, Gregory Jordan was urged to take a holiday away from Hong Kong for a while. As it turned out, a break in his punishing work schedule came with the untimely death of his brother Paul Jordan at Gregory’s home and practise ‘Forest Lodge, Caine Road’. On the 9th February 1901 Paul Jordan passed away. The local papers reported that  “His death was preceded by a complication of physical troubles and he was unconscious for some time before the end.”  The Chater and Jordan families had had more than their share of bereavements to contend with, it was after all, only 5 years since the death of Paul Chater’s beloved younger and equally successful brother Joseph who died suddenly aged only 35 years in 1886 also on the island. Gregory Jordan had attended him during his illness but could not prevent his passing away.  Paul Jordan was laid to rest at Happy Valley cemetery just a few yards from his uncle Joseph Chater in an area that seems to have had plots reserved for family interments.

Paul Jordan was a successful broker in his own right in Hong Kong, he was a partner in the firm Jordan & Joseph but after his death that partnership was dissolved.

The Jordan’s and the Chater’s had their own monograms that they used on headed paper, personal family items as well as chinaware for dinner services and household silverware.  This is an example of the late Paul Jordan’s family monogram on one of his dinner services which is inlaid with 22ct gold.

The Jordan monogram on the family
dinner service. 22ct gold and platinum
Photo: Liz Chater private collection
 After the death of his brother Paul, Gregory Jordan left Hong Kong for a well earned holiday in England.  He departed Hong Kong on the 19 March on board the Doric travelling via Shanghai, Nagasaki, Kobe, Yokohama and Honolulu arriving in San Francisco on the 17th April.  From there he took the overland train where he boarded the Wassau in New York in June for the 5 days crossing to Liverpool.
Basing himself in London, he was able to reacquaint himself with other members of the Armenian community who had settled in the Capital and it also allowed him precious time to catch up with the many cousins the Jordan’s and Chater’s had in England.

How exactly he met Mrs. Marion Daly is unclear.  She was the wife of Charles Daly who was a qualified dentist who had practised in London, Bristol and Cardiff. Marion and Charles had married at the Westminster Registry Office, London in 1889. Marion can be found on the 1901 census at the address of her mother and brother in London. Her occupation is listed as ‘Medical Electricienne’ whilst her mother is a retired ‘manageress costumier’ and Frederick her brother a ‘draper’s clerk’. Marion’s background was Catholic having been born and baptized in Dublin in 1867. Marion had another brother, George Henry Ormsby who qualified as a doctor in 1896 in London, a younger sister Jane cannot be traced therefore it is likely she died at a young age.

Gregory was in England on a long and extended stay to recuperate and recharge himself after the grueling years and responsibilities in Hong Kong.  A burgeoning closeness developed between him and Marion during the remainder of 1901 and a surprise was in store for her in early 1902.

Her marriage to Charles had probably broken down a long time before she had met Gregory, because although she started divorce proceedings in early 1902 it is quite unlikely that she would have done so without some sort of help financially as well as emotional encouragement.  It is probably no coincidence that Paul Chater arrived in London in the spring of 1902 in readiness for the forthcoming coronation of King Edward VII. Paul Chater was already aware that he was to be knighted so preparations for his ceremony, as well as the coronation and other associated social commitments filled his time.  He and Gregory Jordan were spotted in London by a journalist who reported in the Daily Mail in May 1902 that “he had seen Sir Catchick Paul Chater  the other day with Dr. Jordan  and thought he was not looking so badly, however, he is going to Marienbad for the waters.”

Meanwhile Marion’s divorce papers were filed on the 1st May by her solicitors G.C. Topham of London Bridge.  They state that Marion had indeed married Charles Daly on the 29th August 1889, and that she had lived with him in various locations as he built up his dentistry practise.  During the course of the marriage it came to light that Charles Daly was in fact already married and had been since 1884 to Adelaide Caroline Isaacson whom he had married whilst living in British Guiana. His wife was in a lunatic asylum in Gloucester and Charles was paying for her maintenance, all without the knowledge of Marion. Marion was distraught by his deceit and although it was difficult to prove, she did indeed manage to get a copy of the marriage certificate of Charles and Adelaide with the help of the Colonial office in London. I cannot help but think that this was probably assisted in no small way by the contacts that Paul Chater had in that particular Governmental department. For a woman to commence divorce proceedings at the turn of the century usually meant you were either (a) well off, or (b) well connected, the stigma to divorce was enormous and it took nerve and confidence (as well as money) for a woman to undertake such a process. With her mother and one of her brothers in the costume and drapery business it is most unlikely that they were sufficiently financially comfortable to be able to help Marion with the costs of the divorce.  I do not believe she did it alone. Paul Chater was very close to Gregory and would have offered to ‘take care of things’, of that I have no doubt. 

Marion's dirvorce papers
again Charles Daly
 Under the protective wing of Paul Chater, Marion was welcomed into the fold. She was a delightful tonic for Gregory and it was clear that his intentions were long term.  The summer of 1902 was socially frantic and Marion would have been swept up into a world that was, perhaps unfamiliar to her. Gregory Jordan was presented at Court in July at the Colonial reception at St. James’s Palace, an occasion that was highly regarded, many tried and failed for that all important handshake. The blip in proceedings was the planned date for the coronation of 26th June which was put back to 9th August due to a decline in the King’s ill health. However, coronation celebrations in the Capital and up and down the country continued on, and as part of the frenzy of celebration a Fleet Review took place on the 16th August at Spithead on the South Coast where Paul Chater was an honoured guest of the influential Rothschilds family. Levees, dinners, theatre visits all ensued and Gregory Jordan along with Marion would have accompanied Paul Chater to as many occasions as possible.  The summer culminated in Chater’s knighthood which took place on the 24th October 1902 at Buckingham Palace.

Marion’s Decree Nisi came on the 1st August 1902, and the Decree Absolute[13] 6 months later on the 9th of February 1903. Her marriage to Charles was deemed null and void and she was free to do as she pleased.

After the coronation events both Sir Paul and Gregory had to turn their thoughts to returning to their respective businesses. The newly knighted Sir Paul Chater and his nephew Gregory Jordan began their journey back to Hong Kong. Joining them on the long trip was Charles Sassoon Gubbay a friend and business associate of Chater, they all travelled down through Europe taking the scenic route to Port Said.  However, they had unexpected company along the way.

A few years ago, I found an interesting book by Belle Livingstone[14], telling of her exploits. In her eyes Chater was a marked man and it was her sole intention to set up and capture the attention of Sir Paul Chater. Here is a short story I put together a couple of years ago, it follows on nicely from the Knighthood in October 1902.

Belle Livingstone: A [K]night’s distraction. Sir Paul Chater is Beguiled

After a particularly busy summer in England culminating in his knighthood award ceremony at Buckingham Palace in October1902, and whilst the newly knighted Sir Paul Chater was making his way back to Hong Kong with his companion, Charles Sassoon Gubbay via Paris and Europe, an enterprising young American socialite, named Belle Livingstone, was brazenly planning how she could use them and their money to help her win a bet she had made to travel round the world on her wits and five Pounds. 

Having arrived in Paris, she contrived with Louis, the manager of the Café de Paris to ensure she was placed to dine at a table next to theirs, and, once recognised by Gubbay and exclaiming it as an amazing co-incidence, the three of them spent the evening together, the two gentlemen completely entranced by Belle and her jokes and entertaining stories.  The deceiving ploy continued at the end of the evening when the well briefed Louis approached and made a short speech congratulating Belle on her birthday.  “This inspired piece of deception was delivered with just the right air of deference and compliment.  Messrs. Chater and Gubbay rose to the bait like a couple of king salmon to a Royal Coachman”. Chater said: “A Birthday? You don’t say! This calls for champagne!” And Louis brought out the best magnum he had.  After the Café de Paris, the three of them moved on to Maxim’s the naughtiest place in Paris.  The manager bowed almost double as he, Belle recalls, “led my merry moneybags to a choice table.  Whilst we were watching the dancers and sipping our champagne Gubbay asked the question I had been waiting for.  “Look Belle, there’s nothing imperative about you going direct to Monte Carlo, is there?  Why don’t you take a little trip to Port Said with us? Paris-Rome express tomorrow night, boat from Genoa the next night. Paul and I need a little cheering up on board. We’ll see that you get a steamer back to Monte Carlo from Port Said.What do you say?”“ And so Belle Livingstone travelled with them and made sure that Sir Paul and Charles Gubbay had only very pleasant memories of the trip, she was at her most gracious and entertaining.  As they parted they tried to get her to go all the way to Hong Kong, Gubbay said: “You’re a circus Belle.”  She had mentally marked Hong Kong as one of her ports of call and she “had every intention of digging into their pockets again in their own home town.”

Extracts from “Belle Out of Order” by Belle Livingstone

Finally arriving back in Hong Kong on Christmas Eve 1902, the local newspapers happily reported their return from ‘home’.

Marion was still in England but continued to stay in touch with Gregory, keeping him updated on developments in the divorce.

On Thursday 3rd November 1904 at the consecration, of Scottish District Grand Lodge Sir Paul was supported by 29 officers of District Grand Lodge present and past, as well as by many English masons.  Amongst the names of those present were those of two Armenians, A.V. Apcar and M. Seth.  It must have given Sir Paul particular pleasure to install his own nephew Dr. Gregory Jordan as District Grand Master of a sister district, witnessed by two of his own widely scattered nation.[15]

Masonic Installation Certificate for
Wor. Bro. Dr. Gregory Paul Jordan
Photo: Liz Chater private collection
 The next day on the 4th November Marion arrived in Hong Kong from England. Accompanying her was her uncle Rev. Father Kelly (her mother’s brother). Marion had two days to ready herself for her wedding and on Monday 7th November at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Gregory Paul Jordan and Marion Ormsby-Daly were married. Her uncle Rev. Kelly assisted with the wedding and the bride was given away by Sir Paul Chater.

The wedding was reported in the Hong Kong newspapers:

A quiet wedding took place today at 3p.m at St. Joseph’s Church, Garden Road.  Dr. Gregory Paul Jordan  and Mrs. Marion Josephine Ormsby-Daly were united in the bands of holy matrimony.  The Rev. Father Kelly (who is an uncle of the bride) conducted the ceremony and was assisted by the Rev. Father Augustine.  The church was prettily decorated for the occasion with flowers, palms and pot plants, the chancel being a perfect garden of exquisite exotics.
Sir Paul Chater (who is an uncle of the bridegroom) gave the bride away, while Mr. A.G. Ward acted as best man.  Mr. E. Danenberg officiated on the organ and the service was fully choral.  There being according to custom, no bridesmaids, the bride was supported by Mrs. J.M. Atkinson. As the happy couple came out of the church the Misses Stella, Phoebe, Iris and Diane May and Masters Nigel and Bernard Atkinson and Maurice and Gerald Slade scattered flowers across their path.  The bride wore an elaborate frock of delicate white lace over white silk, and a white hat with plumes and carried a beautiful bouquet.

The bridal party then went on to the residence of Sir Paul Chater at Caine Road where the wedding breakfast was held.  A most representative gathering was present, invitations having been sent out to two hundred guests, and the large dining room of Sir Paul Chater’s home was just not sufficient enough to hold those attending, and many were gathering around all the doors.  Photographs of the bridal party were taken.

The Hon. F.H. May,  in proposing the toast to the bride and bridegroom, asked all present to charge their glasses.  He was an Irishman, and all knew that Irish ladies were renowned for their beauty and goodness of heart and they had evidence of this before them.

The bridegroom, both professionally and socially, was a man of the kindest heart, who had endeared himself to those present, and also to many who were not present.  It said something for the Medical Officer’s professional skill that he (the speaker), who had a wife and four daughters present in excellent health, had just dined out on fourteen successive occasions, and still felt fit for more (laughter).  He assured the happy couple that in this right little tight island, they would receive the heartiest of welcomes.

The toast was enthusiastically drunk and cheers for the bride and bridegroom were loud and long.

Dr. Jordan, in responding on behalf of his wife and himself said:

I cannot find words adequately expressive of the warmth of my feelings to all who are gathered here today for the flattering reception given to my wife and myself.  We shall carry away a pleasant and lasting recollection of the kindness extended to us.

With regard to the proposer of the toast, I shall not attempt to answer his speech.  I can only say that my relations with him, and with the rest of you, have been one of the greatest sources of joy and pride, and I have to thank you all for having so cordially received us here today, and I only ask you now that the same friendship as you have extended to me in the past, you will still extend to my wife and myself.

On behalf of my wife and myself I have to thank you most cordially for the hearty welcome extended to us, for your kind congratulations and also for your lovely presents.

The happy couple then received the congratulations of all present, and, taking advantage of a quiet moment, left the house thus avoiding the showers of rice with which they would have otherwise been greeted.

Varied and handsome were the presents, a large number being brought out by the bride from friends at home, she having been lately arrived.

The following is a list.

Sir Paul Chater, a diamond necklace and pendant; Mr. & Mrs. Chang Kai Ming, pearl bracelet; Mr. & Mrs. Leigh Parker, gold bracelet; Mr. & Mrs. H.C. Marshall, gold matchbox;  Mr. & Mrs. S. Sassoon, gold necklace with sapphire and pearl pendant; Mr. A.G. Stokes, silver cigarette case;  Mr. E. Pabaney, gold chain and “good luck” bracelet; Mr. Wong Lai Sang, gold coin bracelet; Mr. A.N. Mody, pearl and diamond earrings; Mr. and Mrs. H.M.H. Nemajee, pearl mounted watch; Mr. and Mrs. H.D. Gaspar, writing case; Mr. & Mrs. Holdsumes, carved black-wood table, Mr. Wei On, silver punch bowl; Mr., Mrs., and Miss Brotherton Harker, ancient panels; Mr. and Mrs. M. W. Slade; silver photo frame; Mr. & Mrs. T. Jones, cushion; Mr. & Mrs. E. Jones, cushion;  Mr. Shigenaga, ancient Chinese vase with silver dragon; Mr. F.H. Arjanee, silver frame; Mr & Mrs Humphries, silver card tray; Dr. and Mrs Bell, silver mounted inkstand; Mr and Mrs Beck, silver spoons; Mr and Mrs Goetz Satsuma card tray; Mr and Mrs Hutton Potts; pair of silver photo frames; Mr and Mrs Edward Shellim, silver card tray; Mr and Mrs Peters, silver punch bowl; Mr and Mrs E. Ellis, silver toast rack; Mr and Mrs A.G. Aitkens, silver dragon; Mr. V.H. Deacon, silver coffee set; Mr and Mrs Arathoon Seth, silver liqueur set; Mr S.A. Seth, silver writing set; Mr. D. Macdonald, silver card bowl; Mr. A. Babington, drawing room clock; Hon. Mr and Mrs F.H. May,  and the Misses May, silver writing set; Mr and Mrs J.A. Jupp, silver ink stand; Mr. J.R.M. Smith, solid silver salver; Mrs. Vernon, silver cruet set; Mr and Mrs A Mackenzie, silver photo frame; Mr A.G. Ward, silver photo frame; Mr and Mrs Volpicelli, carved ivory vase; Mr. Aratoon V. Apcar, silver punch bowl; Mr and Mrs Grant Smith, silver trinket box,; Dr. Keyt, silver cigarette case; Mr and Mrs John A Plummer, pair of silver sweet dishes; Dr. and Mrs J.M. Atkinson, four silver flower vases; Mr. A.F. Forster, silver match holder; Dr. and Mrs Kew, silver box; Mr. B.L. Botliwalla, silver photo frame; Dr and Mrs Hunter, silver photo frame; Mr and Mrs H.W. Slade, silver flower vases; Hon. R. Shewan, silver egg dish; Mr. John Gregory, silver card tray; Mr C.J. Cooke, silver pin cushion; Mr and Mrs Mowbray Northcote, silver butter dish, and flower holder; Mr and Mrs Tarrant silver pot pourri, Mr. W. Taylor, silver mounted claret jug; Capt., and Mrs. Milroy, silver fruit spoons; Mr and Mrs Bisney, silver tea set; Mr and Mrs Tildon, silver flower vases; Mr and Mrs N.A. Siebs, gold plated fruit spoons; Mr and Mrs Geo P. Lammert, carved black-wood chair; Mr. James Rankin, silver lamp; Mr. T.F. Hough, clock; Mr and Mrs Ahmet Rumjahn, silver box; Mr and Mrs E.M. Hazeland, silver flower vases; Mr and Mrs J.A. Plummer, flower bowls in silver; Mr and Mrs H. Crombie, fruit dishes in silver; Mr and Mrs J.T. Douglas, silver bowl; Mr and Mrs A.S. Mihara, ivory fan and silk doyley; Dr. Forsyth, patent razors; Mr and Mrs McLean Gibson, sweet dishes; Mr and Mrs Grace, silver flower vases;, Mr H. Percy Smith, silver specimen vase; Mr and Mrs A.H.M. da Silver, silver spoon, Mr. A.H. Skelton and Mrs S.A. Skelton, silver fruit dish; Mr and Mrs Adam Gibson, silver photo frame; Mr. Bruce Shepherd, silver epergne; Mr and Mrs G.J.B. Sayer, album; Mr and Mrs D.H. Silas, silver card tray; Mr Wei On, silver bowl; Mr and Mrs A.E. Hodgins, set of lacquered tables; Mr and Mrs Shelton Hooper, picture; Mr and Mrs J. Hooper, silk embroidered table cloth; Mr. J. Orange, Chinese puzzle; Miss Ellis, silver card tray; Mr and Mrs Pinchkney, book; Mr and Miss Swan, bridge box; A. Chuck, tea set; Mr. A. Howard, silver card trays; Mr and Mrs Alfred Herbert Rennie, carved blackwood chair; Mr. Fung Wa Chun, Chinese embroidered satin coat;  Hon. Dr. Ho Kai, set of silver mounted finger bowls; Mr and Mrs E.J. Jordan, clock; Mr. and Mrs Herbert Tomkis, vase; Mr and Mrs Ho Tung, silver flower stands;  Mr Armin Haupt, clo’sonne vases; District Grand Lodge of Scottish Freemasonry, set of silver flower vases and silver mounted finger bowls; Mr and Mrs Fred D. Goddard, silver bowl; Mr and Mrs E. Osbourne, bronze lobster ornament; Mr S.D. Moonshee, silver card tray; Mr and Mrs T.A. Rose, cushion[16].”

From this moment onwards, Marion embraced life in Hong Kong with her new dynamic husband and his popular and respected uncle. Dr. Jordan was as keen on the annual race meetings in Hong Kong as Sir Paul was.  He had his own stable and racing colours and his ponies were entered as owned by Mr. Medico. In February 1914 his pony ‘Aldwych’ won The Valley Stakes, The Hong Kong Stakes and The German Cup, whilst Sir Paul won the blue riband race the Hong Kong Derby with Jewel Aster.  The next month Marion, a keen gardener was a serious contender in the hotly contested horticultural show, giving Sir Paul a run for his money in the various plant categories, here is a small extract of some of those results.

Peak Gardens

3 pots of Marguerites 2nd Sir Paul, 3rd Mrs. Jordan; 3 pots of nasturtium (tall varieties) 1st Sir Paul, 3rd Mrs. Jordan; 3 pots of fan palms 1st Sir Paul, 2nd Mrs. Jordan; 3 pots of palms (other than fan palms) 1st. Sir Paul; 3 pots of Salvia 1st Sir Paul; 6 pots of annuals or plants raised from seeds the same season 2nd Sir Paul,; 3 pots of flowering plans other than annuals 1st Sir Paul; 3 pots of Arums 1st Sir Paul, 2nd Mrs. Jordan; 3 Azaleas 1st Sir Paul; 3 pots of Carnations and/or Picotees 2nd Sir Paul; 3 pots of Dianthus other varieties excluding Carnations and Picotees 2nd Sir Paul; 3 pots Cactus Dahlias 2nd Sir Paul; 3 pots of Geraniums 1st Mrs. Jordan, 2nd Sir Paul; 3 pots of Narcissus Tazetta 1st Sir Paul; 3 pots of Nasturtium (dwarf varieties) 1st Sir Paul; 3 pots of pansies 1t Mrs. J. Jordan.

 In May 1914, prior to a long awaited voyage back to England, she was honoured with an address of appreciation by the Catholic Women’s League in Hong Kong for her work and dedication.

The trip back to England was a bitter-sweet occasion for Marion because her mother Anne had died in 1913 in Standish, Lancashire at the home of Marion’s brother doctor George Ormsby. Although Marion was the sole executrix, because she was living in Hong Kong the estate was being administered through the Probate Court by Anne’s uncle Rev. Robert Kelly, the same uncle who had assisted at her wedding in 1904. Also in England for the summer were Sir Paul and Lady Chater, although they did not all travel together as Sir Paul had business commitments in Hong Kong, he and Lady Chater sailed a few weeks later.
Dr. Jordan’s practice continued to grow and by 1914 he had a total of five doctors in the partnership. Based in the heart of the new praya reclamation area that had been brought to its completion by Jordan’s uncle Sir Paul just a few years earlier, the practise was on the 3rd floor of Alexandra Buildings. Whilst Gregory Jordan and Marion were in England his Hong Kong University lecturing commitments in tropical medicine were taken over by an old adversary Dr. Francis Clark.

Whilst in England in 1914 he volunteered for war service but being a gentleman in his late 50s that offer was declined.  However, upon his return to Hong Kong in 1915 he joined the police reserve and was appointed Surgeon-Superintendant a position he maintained until the end of the war in 1918.

A particularly tragic time was the fierce fire at the race course in Happy Valley in 1918. Dr. Jordan was one of many medically trained people trying to help give help to those who had been caught up in the inferno. For others it was simply too difficult to avoid and over 600 people perished in the fire when the matsheds in the Chinese stands caught fire and simply engulfed the spectators on the ground. There was an enquiry into the tragedy and both Dr. Jordan as a senior doctor on the island and his uncle Sir Paul as chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey club were inevitably involved. 

The Fire at Happy Valley Race Course 1918
Image: Liz Chater private collection
The Jordan’s managed to successfully juggle the unavoidable strains of a busy medical practice with a delightful and hectic social scene.  He spoke fluent Cantonese and Mandarin and was a trusted and highly respected doctor amongst the native Chinese community on the island, making him even more in demand than some of the other doctors. When Dr. Jordan was having difficulty in keeping up with his appointments, the Chinese community pulled together and purchased a car for him so that he found things less of a strain, and was thus able to continue to attend to his native patients as well as his Port health autority duties.

The Memorial to those who lost their
lives still exists today near the
Hong Kong Stadium
Photo: Liz Chater private collection

By 1921, well past colonial retiring age, Gregory Jordan resigned as Hong Kong Port Health Officer a position that he had held for over 50 years, he also took the opportunity to retire from Hong Kong University as its Vice-Chancellor. Upon retiring he was presented with an honorary doctorate of laws in recognition of his service by his successor Sir William Brunyate who said:

“It is sometimes true of those upon whom honorary degrees are confirmed, that the distinction is not academic. That is not so in the case of Professor Jordan. Not only has he studied in his own university but in Paris, London, Vienna and in my own university, Cambridge.  He has been associated, I believe, with every public work – medical work – in this colony since his arrival here.  It is quite recently that thrugh his influence we are indebted for additional medical schools………..and one other title to fame I may mention. When we draw up our list of pious founders and benefactors, foremost amongst them will figure the original founders of the Hongkong College of Medicine, Sir Patrick Manson, Sir James Cantlie and Professor Jordan.”

After the ceremony the students carried Dr. Jordan from the Great Hall to his car and towed the car from Pokfulam into town. Jordan had, after all, collected $20,000 from his friends to furnish the Students’ Union Building, the students were enormously fond and respectful of him.

In June of 1921 Gregory and Marion Jordan sailed for a well earned rest in England. Although they arrived safely he had become unwell due to a recurring heart problem. He and Marion had settled into their flat at St. James’ Court, Buckingham Gate, London for a few weeks before taking a trip to Harrogate The English Spa for the healing properties of the waters that contained sulphur, iron and minerals.

Gregory and Marion returned to London but once again he took another turn for the worse, rallying slightly before he finally succumbed to a heart attack. He passed away on the 4th  December.

All the Hong Kong newspapers
reported the passing away
of Dr. Jordan in London

The Hong Kong Telegraph reported the funeral in one of its January editions:

Friday 9th December: A large gathering of Hongkong, Shanghai and other China friends attended the funeral today of the late Dr. Gregory Paul Jordan L.L.D who died after a short illness on 4th December at his residence, 236 St. James’ Court, London, S.W.  The burial service was conducted by the Rev. W.H. Aldia of St. Paul’s Church, Portman Square (formerly of West China), and the hymns sung by the choir of the London College of Choristers were, “Forever with the Lord”, and “Abide with me”.  The internment was made at Kensal Green Cemetery. 

The simple tombstone to
Dr. Gregory Jordan, kensal Green Cemetery
Photo: Liz Chater private collection
Included amongst the gathering were Mrs. Marion Jordan (widow), Mrs. Paul Jordan, Major John P. Jordan R.G.A., and Mr. G.P. Jordan nephews, the Misses Jordan and Mrs. Bennison (nieces) Messrs G.H.E. and E.P.D. Gaspar, Rev and Mrs. Scott MacPherson, Rev. Father Kelly, Dr. Ormsby, M.O.R. (Wigan R.D.C. brother-in-law). Mrs. Paul Chater, Mr. Donald McDonald, Mr. Shelton Hooper, Mrs. Apcar, Major and Mrs. J. Hope, Miss Balthazar, Mr. & Mrs. J.F. McGregor, Mr. L.V. Lang, Mr. Killard-Leavy, Mrs. Irlam, Mr. William Thompson R.N., (Hongkong Water Police and representing the United Service Lodge of Freemasons, E.C. China), Dr. Koch, Mr. M.F. Murray, Mr. N.F. Blanch, Mr. A.P. Wood, Mr. & Mrs. Redmond Barrett, Mrs. Walter Norfolk, Mrs. Harston Barrett, Mr. T.F. Hough (Past District Grand Master of Hongkong and South China E.C.), Mrs. Scott Harston etc.

Among the large number of beautiful wreaths were beautiful emblems from the widow, relatives, the District Grand Lodge of Hongkong and South China E.C. (of which Dr. Jordan was a past prominent officer), the United Service Lodge 1341, E.C., the University of Hongkong (per Sir James and Lady Cantie), Sir Henry May, K.C.M.G. (former Governor of Hongkong) and Lady May, Capt. and Mrs. C. Paul Chater, Mr. & Mrs. J.L. Crockett, Mrs. A.T. Spear, Mr. & Mrs. H.J. Gedge, Sir Newton and Lady Stabb, Mr. & Mrs. E. Ormiston, Mrs. Scott Harston, Mr. & Mrs. N.E. Blanch, The Household, Mr. T.F. Hough, Mrs. Shelton Hooper, Mr. & Mrs. J.F. MacGregor, Mr. & Mrs. G.C. Moxon, Mr. & Mrs. H. Barrett, Mr. & Mrs. M.W. Slade, Mr. & Mrs. F. Baird, Mr. A. Shelton Hooper, Dr. & Mrs. Killard-Leavey, Mrs. Edgar, Commander F.M. Hodgson R.N., etc.

Prior to his death, one of the schemes that Gregory Jordan was deeply involved inwas the creation of a library at the Hong Kong University for the Students Union. He was not able to see it completed but to ensure that it was, his uncle Sir Paul Chater stepped in to complete the funding for it. He pledged whatever it took and in September 1922 the library was indeed completed. An ever-lasting tribute by a loving uncle for his nephew. The opening ceremony was performed at the request of Sir Paul by Gregory’s widow Marion on the 16th September 1922. A week later she returned to England for good and lived out her days there.

Yet another legacy left to the world by a Calcutta born Armenian.

[1] See baptism register entry 1149
[2] Allen’s India Mail - 1845
[3] The Armenian Church Baptism register on microfilm can be viewed when ordered in advance at any family history centre around the world, please check for centre locations.
[4] See Hong Kong Government Gazettes
[5] for detailed family history and tree
[6] Hong Kong PRO, Carl Smith Cards 114037 + others
[7] British Library N1-133-106 burial record
[8] British Library N1-153-199 burial record
[10] China Mail and Hong Kong Daily Press 26-27 May 1885    passenger lists.
[11] For details on Sir Paul and other members of his family see

[12] Summaries and extracts from ‘Hong Kong Practice. Drs. Anderson & Partners the First Hundred Years’ by Katherine Mattock
[13] See divorce papers – National Archives, Kew, London
[14] Belle Out Of Order, by Belle Livingstone
[15] Chater-Cosmo Transactions Volume 4 for 1982
[16] The Hong Kong Telegraph 8th November 1904