James Johnstone Keswick

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J. J. Keswick

James Johnstone Keswick (1845–1914) was a Scottish businessman in Hong Kong and China and the taipan of the Jardine Matheson & Co..

He was the son of the Thomas Keswick and younger brother of William Keswick, the founder of the Keswick family. He arrived in the Far East in 1870 and remained for 26 years. He became a partner of the Messrs Jardine, Matheson & co. and taipan of the firm from the 1890s. He founded Hongkong Land together with close associate Sir Paul Chater, a development company established in 1889 which remained closely associated with Jardine Matheson. Chater and J. J. Keswick became permanent joint managing directors of the new company.

He was also appointed as unofficial member of the Legislative Council and Executive Council of Hong Kong, chairman of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and Hong Kong Fire.[1] He was the chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce in five spells between 1890 to 1900.

He had been resident in Japan, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. During his residence in China he was one of the best known figures in the foreign community[1] and was nicknamed "James the bloody polite", a tribute to his personality.

He married to Marion "Minnie" Parkes, daughter of Harry Smith Parkes, former British minister in Tokyo and Peking.[1]

He died at an hotel at Bath, Somerset at the age of 68 in 1914.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "THE LATE J. J. KESWICK.". The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser. 1 February 1915. p. 10.