Sir Robert Hart, 1st Baronet
(20 February 1835 – 20 September 1911), was a British consular official in China, who served as the second Inspector General of China's Imperial Maritime Custom Service
(IMCS) from 1863 to 1911.
Robert Hart was born into a devout Methodist
family in Dungannon Street, Portadown County Armagh
, in 1835. His father, Henry Hart (1806-1875) worked in distilleries, and married a farmer’s daughter, Ann Edgar, in 1834. Robert Hart was educated at a Wesleyan school in Taunton, Somerset, then at Wesley Connexional School, Dublin, and at the age of 15 was sent to Queen’s University, Belfast
, where he graduated in 1853. He would become, after his retirement, Pro-Chancellor of Queen’s University.
In spring of the following year, Robert Hart received from his college a British Foreign Office
nomination as student interpreter in the China consular service. His first destination was , where he served in the Superintendency of Trade under the orders of Sir , the Governor of Hong Kong. In September 1854, Robert Hart was appointed to the British vice-consulate in as supernumary interpreter. As a dispute broke out between the British Consul and the Portuguese Consul, Robert Hart was given the responsibility... Read More