Sir Robert Hart, 1st Baronet

Sir Robert Hart, 1st Baronet

Sir Robert Hart, 1st Baronet

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Sir Robert Hart, 1st Baronet, GCMG (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.

Early life

Robert Hart was born into a devout Methodist family in Dungannon Street, Portadown County Armagh, Ulster, 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...
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