William Pedder

William Pedder (21 June 1801-1854) was a lieutenant in the British Navy who was the fourth person appointed, under the first two Chief Superintendents, for the administration of the Government of Hong Kong and its second legal officer. He was Hong Kong's first Harbour Master and Marine Magistrate.

Early life

Pedder was born on the Isle of Wight, probably the son of George Pedder, a surgeon, and his wife Mary Apsey. He entered the British Navy on 5 April 1814[1]:160 and served in 1821 on the HMS Iphigenia together with fellow Midshipman and later to be first Administrator of Hong Kong Charles Elliot.[1]:161 He was promoted to lieutenant on 11 June 1822 and commissioned on 21 June 1824.

Pedder married another Pedder, daughter of J Pedder, on 17 October 1825 in Swansea.[1]:163 By May 1838, they had sons William Henry and Frederick, and daughter Susan,[1]:164 and two more sons were to follow.[1]:164[2]

In October 1834, Pedder joined the Coastguard as a Chief Officer and continued in that service till 1839.[1]:164


Pedder was appointed First Officer[3]:8 of the secret British East India Company vessel Nemesis, a revolutionary iron steam-ship design, upon its completion in 1839, under Capt. William Hutcheon Hall, another of his former fellow midshipmen on the Iphigenia.[1]:164[2]

On 27 February 1841, Pedder was one of a landing party at Whampoa Reach and praised by his commander for his gallantry in his role in the capture of the Chinese forts on the Bocca Tigris.[3]:159

He was appointed Harbour Master and Marine Magistrate of Hong Kong on 31 July 1841.[4]:9 He established Hong Kong's first police force, the Water Police, at some time between late 1841 and April 1842.[1]:169

Pedder's duties as Harbour Master were to control movements of all vessels, including use of anchorages, to maintain good order and to issue notices of deadlines for accepting outgoing mail. He had full magisterial and police authority in respect of the imposition of the harbour control regulations.[5]:234 His supporting staff initially consisted of Assistant Harbour Master and Officiating Marine Magistrate, together with their clerks, Indian interpreters, boatmen and coolies.[6] His office was a room in his house, then situated on a hill by the harbour, next to the road bearing his name. A separate building a short distance to the east of his home was adopted for the formal Harbour Master's Office in 1845, on the site of today's Bank of China Building, Bank Street.[7]:189

Pedder was a committee member of the Society for the Relief of Destitute Sick Foreigners, formed in 1846.[8]

Suffering ill health, Pedder took leave of absence from his duties in November 1853 and returned to England.[9] He died on 16 March 1854 at Ryde, Isle of Wight,[10]:342 and probate of his will was granted the same year.[11]


One of Hong Kong's first streets to be laid out was named in his honour as was one of its earliest piers.[12] The area above modern-day Central on Ice House and Wyndham Streets was known as Pedder's Hill at least until the last years of the 19th century.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Guy, Nicholas (2017). "The Nemeses of Lt. Pedder". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch. Hong Kong. 57.
  2. ^ a b O'Byrne, William R (2012). A Naval Biographical Dictionary - Volume 2. Andrews UK Limited. p. 888. ISBN 9781781502792.
  3. ^ a b Hall, William Hutcheon; Bernard, William Dallas (1845). Narrative of the Voyages and Services of the Nemesis from 1840 to 1843. London.
  4. ^ Norton-Kyshe, James William (1898). History of the Laws and Courts of Hong Kong. London: T Fisher Unwin.
  5. ^ Ho, Pui-yin (2004). The Administrative History of the Hong Kong Government Agencies, 1841-2002. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
  6. ^ Civil Establishment, Hong Kong Administrative Reports. Hong Kong Government. 1854.
  7. ^ Wright, Arnold (1990). Twentieth Century Impressions of Hong Kong: History, People, Commerce, Industries and Resources. Singapore: Graham Brash.
  8. ^ Anglo-Chinese Calendar, Vol. 2. p. 132. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Government Notification". Hong Kong Government Gazette. Hongkong Register Office. 8 November 1853.
  10. ^ Norton-Kyshe, James William (1898). History of the Laws and Courts of Hong Kong. Vetch and Lee Ltd (1972 reissue).
  11. ^ "Will of William Pedder, Lieutenant of the Royal Navy, Harbour Master, Marine Magistrate of China". National Archives. UK Government. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  12. ^ Bard, Solomon (2002). Voices from the Past: Hong Kong, 1842-1918. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 9789622095748. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
Humphrey Head

Humphrey Head is a limestone outcrop situated south of the village of Allithwaite. It is whale-back-shaped and accessible for walkers, giving views over Morecambe Bay to Lancaster, Morecambe, Heysham and over the Leven estuary to Ulverston. There is an Ordnance Survey trig point at the top.

Since 1906 it has been the home of Humphrey Head Outdoor Centre, currently operated by Mere Mountains . Most of the Head is a nature reserve, managed by Cumbria Wildlife Trust since 1992 although still owned by the Holker Estate. On the eastern flank is a wood with permitted rights of way. It used to be possible to walk to the end of the outcrop by walking on the sands to the west of Humphrey Head, but changes in the sands have rendered this difficult (although still possible in wellies) (2011). To the east of Humphrey Head is a marsh which forms part of Kents Bank.

Humphrey Head is the traditional location for the killing of the last wolf in England, in about 1390. Folklore has it that the wolf descended the fells from near Coniston where it had caused havoc among the sheep flocks. After it attacked a child in Cark the country-folk chased it to the end of Humphrey Head where it was killed with pikes while hiding among the rocks.

Below Humphrey Head there used to be house with a spring. The water was reputed to have therapeutic properties. Miners from Durham used to walk here just to take the water. All that is now left is a rusting lead pipe and a clear trickle of water.

On the rock face lies a memorial to William Pedder who died in August 1857, it reads: "Beware how you on these rocks ascend Here William pedder met his end August 22nd 1857 Aged 10 years by permission".

Humphrey Head is the subject of a chapter of Wainwright's book The Outlying Fells of Lakeland, although he says "Not by any exercise of the imagination can Humphrey Head be classed as an outlying fell of Lakeland" as although it is certainly "outlying", the summit is a mere 172 feet (52 m) and "a fell it is certainly not". He describes a walk from Kents Bank railway station.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight (; also referred to informally as The Island or abbreviated to IoW) is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent. The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, and is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines. The island is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The island has been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes. It has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats, the hovercraft, and Britain's space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event ever held. It has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe.

The isle was owned by a Norman family until 1293 and was earlier a kingdom in its own right. In common with the Crown dependencies, the British Crown was then represented on the island by the Governor of the Isle of Wight until 1995. The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, and been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Historically part of Hampshire, the island became a separate administrative county in 1890. It continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. Apart from a shared police force, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, although a combined local authority with Portsmouth and Southampton was considered, this is now unlikely to proceed.The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea; three vehicle ferry and two catamaran services cross the Solent to Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth.

Pedder Street

Pedder Street is a major thoroughfare in the core of Hong Kong's Central District. It runs south-north from Queen's Road Central, continues through Des Voeux Road Central, and ends at its intersection with Connaught Road Central.

Wyndham Street

Wyndham Street is a one-way street in Central, Hong Kong. It is one of the earliest colonial streets, once known as Pedder Hill.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.