“For all the Tea”: The Story of the Scots in China

Our extended 2021/2022 Programme was brought to an exhilarating conclusion on 21 April, when John Henderson introduced us to a vividly presented cast of Scots whose lasting influence upon Scotland’s relationship with China over the last two hundred years encompassed activities as diverse as Commerce, Healthcare, Plant Hunting, Ship-building, Missionary Work, Diplomacy and Bi-Lateral Trade, not least in tea and opium, but extending in more modern times to include food products, engineering and of course Whisky! In addition, Scotland fosters contemporary educational and cultural links through tourism and the Confucius Institutes in three of our major universities.

In the midst of current uncertainties and anxieties, this was an evening to remind us of Winston Churchill’s famous quote that ‘of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind’.