OUR MEMORIES
Gresson, William Jardine 1869-1934


 

 

Acclaimed Steward Chancellor; Renowned Owner Rider

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

For the Jardine family, many of their members are recorded in the history of Hong Kong and even China.
The family names flow smoothly through the scene both in China and Hongkong races:
Dallas, Maitland, Forbes, Burkill, Liddell, Marshall, Soares, Sassoon, Arnhold, Ostroumoff, Moller….
The teams such as brother, father and son or couple, uncle and nephew as the case may be.
First there were the Jardines themselves, then all the descendants of Jean Jardine bearing other surnames but forming a family succession:
Johnstone, Keswick, Bell-Irving, Paterson, Gresson, Landale….
They left racing legend which only a few racing families could rival later.

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

William Jardine Gresson was one of the Stewards of HKJC.
He was also a very successful owner and rider, setting lots of records.
He was a British merchant and politician in Hong Kong and China.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

1869
William Jardine Gresson was born.
He was the son of Mary Fleming Tinning (the daughter of Elizabeth “Betsy” Jardine, who was the daughter of David Jardine).
David’s brother Dr. William Jardine co-founded one of the largest trading houses in the Far East, Jardine Matheson & Co..

 

1892
Gresson arrived in Hong Kong and worked in the Jardine Matheson & Comany.
He was also a Shanghai Municipal Councilor.

 

1897
Of the more recent heads of Jardines’ who donned silk in Hong Kong a name recurrent for some years is that of Mr W. J. Gresson.
He had a very successful racing career in Shanghai and other northern ports prior to riding in the island.

 

1900
He took the Champions on Mr Dorset’s PLUTO.
He won the Ladies’ Purse on John Peel‘s BEECHNUT, then three more to come.

 

1901
Gresson won the Ladies’ Purse on Mr Hammonial’s DONNER, in 1.50-1/2.
He became a managing partner in the Jardine Matheson & Co. for ten years.

 

1902
1902-02-19, Gresson won the 30th Derby on IVY.
The owner was General Officer Commanding (Major-General Sir W J Gascoigne), his MARDA.also got the third place.
IVY covered the mile and a half in 2.53.1, compared with the China pony’s best of 3.12.1.
At the same Meeting, MARDA won the Ladies’ Purse. Mr W. J. Gresson, of Jardines’, was the winning rider again.

 

1904
Gresson became a Steward of HKJC.
He also started to serve as Member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong.

 

1905
Riding ZODIAC, Mr Gresson added another Derby to the John Peel triumphs
— and won six races on his own ponies.
As Member of the Executive Council, the Hon. W. J. Gresson of Jardine was again a Steward.
1905-02-22, The 33rd Derby, COTSWOLD, owner John Peel, Gresson, 1-1/2 miles.
The Derby, the Garrison Cup, the Flyaway Stakes and the Champions Stakes. COTSWOLD (Mr Gresson riding) won these same four races.
For one pony to win three races at an Annual Race Meeting was not extraordinary. The griffin of the year was expected to take the Maidens, the Derby and the Champions Stakes.
For one pony to win four official races at a Meeting was, however, notable: it required the pony to win twice in one day.

 

1906
Hong Kong owner Father O’Flynn entered DONNYBROOK and DROGHEDA.
Mr W. J. Gresson rode for him, in emerald green jacket with white sash.
Apart from “John Peel”, some successful Jardine owners of those years were Messrs J. Bell-Irving, W. J. Gresson
1906 to 1910, Gresson served as Member of Executive Council of Hong Kong.

 

1910
He retired from the position of managing partner in the Jardine Matheson & Company.

 

1911
He retired from the Far East and resided in the Birlingham House in a village in Worcestershire, England.
He too had a fine riding record. He raced there, mostly in steeplechasing; he had a large stable.
He was a keen huntsman and for many years was Master of the Croome.

 

1912
One of the Mody‘s Buxey ponies, ROYAL ROSE, raced for Sir Paul with name unchanged and continued to win.
It ran what amounted to two matches against Jardine ponies, there being only two starters in each race.
It beat Mr W. J. Gresson’s ROSYTH (Mr Johnstone) in the Hong Kong Club Cup.

 

1915
Gresson was reported as controlling a famous hunting country for Lord Coventry in the May issue of the Baily’s Magazine of Sports & Pastimes .
The territory was in Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Gloucestrtshire, about twenty miles square.

 

1921 & 1922
There was a silver twin handled steeplechasing trophy cup and cover made by G. H. Inshaw, Birmingham.
The finial as massed fruit on a comport, the domed cover half lobed.
The handles formed as winged dragons, embossed with fruiting trees above lobed band, on a plain spreading pedestal base.
Presentation engraved, 43cm (17in), 2452g (78.8 oz), on an ebonized socle.
The inscriptions read `Presented by E. Broadbelt Smithfield Market Manchester`,
`1921 Won by W. J. Gresson Esq. Stoke House, Severn Stoke, Worcester`,
`1922 Won by W. J. Gresson Esq. Stoke House, Severn Stoke, Worcester`

 

1934-01-10
Gresson was killed in a hunting field in England, a bad accident caused his death.
He was buried in the Cemetery of Severn Stoke, Worcestershire, England.
He left an estate to the gross value of £243,276, with net personalty £231,443.

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Mr W. J. Gresson of Jardines’ was another better known as a rider than as an owner.
Sir Henny May wrote on his 【Notes on Pony and Horse Racing in Hong Kong 1845-1881】page 35:
“We have already mentioned Mr. Gresson, whom we claim as a Hongkong rider though I am bound to say he learned most of his art in Shanghai.
Mr. Gresson always rides with great judgment and has put up many very pretty finishes.”
Much of Mr Gresson’s life was spent abroad, but since he was quite a small boy, he had hunted as opportunities offered.
When in China, he was considered one of the best race-riders, both on the flat and over country.
At meetings held in Hong Kong and Shanghai, he won many races on his own ponies.

 

 

REFERENCE

 

Gresson Street was named after William Jardine Gresson.
Its location in the central area of Causeway Bay, the base of Jardine Matheson & Co. since the colonization of Hong Kong.

 

W. J. Gresson’s brother Harry, head of Messrs Jardine, Skinner & Co. in Calcutta, was credited with being an even better rider.
Harry had a large stable and was successful as an owner: he trained his own horses.

 

Marda (Arabic: مرده‎) is a Palestinian town located in the Salfit Governorate in the northern West Bank.

 

Donnybrook (Irish: Domhnach Broc) is a district of Dublin, Ireland. A brook is a small stream.

 

Drogheda (/ˈdrɒhədə/; /ˈdrɔːdə/; Irish: Droichead Átha, meaning “bridge of the ford” ) is a town located in the north east of Ireland. Siting on both banks of the River Boyne the town straddles both County Louth and County Meath but is predominantly situated in County Louth. 56 miles from Dublin.

 

Rosyth, (Scottish Gaelic: Ros Fhìobh, “headland of Fife”) is a town on the south of the centre of Dunfermline, Scotand.

 

 

EXTERNAL LINK

 

Gresson Street – Wikipedia

 

 

 


 

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