Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sir John Bromhead Matthews(b 1865 – d 1934)

Sir John Bromhead Matthews(b 1865 – d 1934)

The other founding partner of Presgrave & Matthews in 1898, was John Bromhead Matthews, earlier known as John Brunhead Matthews. The partner who joined Edward William Presgrave after Mr. Arthur Edward Clark(Presgrave & Clark) and Walter Clutton(Presgrave & Clutton).John Bromhead Matthews was the 3rd partner, the founder of Presgrave & Matthews. John Bromhead Matthewswas appointed as Appointed as Attorney General of Bahama in 1907. 1907 was the year Edward William Presgrave retired from Legislative Council and one year later in 1908/1909, he retired from Penang in 1909(England source). Some said 1908(Penang source). The name of the law firm Presgrave & Matthews, however was continued until today, despite the retiring of the partners. The law firm, Presgrave & Matthews must had attained its reputation in Penang, where the new incoming partners decided to retain the name( it have become a brand name). The firm was the legal advisors to be Municipal Commission; Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China; Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, Merchantile Bank and numerous leading firms. No wonder the incoming partners throughout history decided to retain the name due to goodwill, the name is still respectable in Malaysia today.

Presgrave & Matthews not only become a brand name; but a historical name and heritage name for Penang history and legal history of Malaysia....

John Bromhead Matthews(b 1865 – d 1934)

1865 - Born in 1865 in the district of Hull, as John Brunhead Matthews
Educated at Lancaster Grammar School

1871- living at 65, Parks Street, Kingston upon Hull(source: Census 2-4-1871) at the age of 6.

Khaw Soo Cheang , prior to the voyage to China, he had a will made by the venerable firm of Presgrave and Matthews in Penang.

1881 – living at 9, St Georges Villa, Thorne Road, Doncaster, when he was 16 years old

1887 – he obtained honours at the final exam of Law Society, and was admitted to Law Society

1890 – called to the Bar of Inner Temple

1891 - left England, admitted to the Bar of Strait Settlement, become acting solicitor general of Strait Settlement. On his capacity as solicitor general, he was also member of Legislative Council.

(Note: The Attorney-General of Singapore is the legal adviser to the government of the Republic of Singapore and its public prosecutor.
The office Attorney-General was founded in 1867 as the chief legal officer of the British crown colony of the Straits Settlements. The current requirements for appointment as Attorney-General are set out in the Singapore Constitution[1]. Unlike some other countries that follow the Westminster parliamentary model, in Singapore the Attorney-General is not a member of Parliament. He carries out his functions, with the assistance of his deputy, known as the Solicitor-General, through the Attorney-General's Chambers).

1st marriage with Kate Isobel Parkin at Doncaster District. Kate was the daughter of Alfred and Hannah Maria Parkin, Alfred was a solicitor.
The Straits Philosophical Society was founded on 5 March 1893 to engage in critical discussions on philosophy, theology, history, literature, science, and art. The society played a developmental role in the intellectual and cultural life of colonial Singapore. Its founding members were Major-General Sir Charles Warren (president), the Rev. G. M. Reith (secretary and treasurer), John Winfield Bonser, Walter Napier, H. N. Ridley, R. W. Hullett, J. Bromhead Matthews, J. McKillop, D. J. Galloway (Dr), A. Knight, Tan Teck Soon, T. Shelford, G. D. Haviland (Dr), R. N. Bland, and C. W. Kynnersley.
By the late 1910s, the society was operating under great difficulties as many members were conscripted for the Great War or burdened by business commitments. The year of the society's cessation is not known as no records dating beyond 11 February 1916 have survived.


Presgrave & Matthews

Presgrave & Matthews is one of the oldest established legal firms in Malaysia and one of the largest in Malaysia. Founded in 1898 by Edward Presgrave (who had served on the Straits Settlements Legislative Council) and Bromhead Matthews (who had been a member of the Straits Settlements Legislative Council and the Solicitor General of the Straits Settlements) in Penang

Thb Hon'blo Dr. Brown and Mrs. Brown, of Penang, are going home for a twelve months' holiday, and Dr. Brown has accordingly tendered his rcsigna tion of the seat in Legislative Council It is rumoured that the Penang Chamber of Commerce are very likely to eleel Mr Bromhead-Matthews to represent them in Legislative Council(source: Strait Time 31-3-1990). It is stated at Penang that Mr. J. A. Harwood does not intend to resign the post nf solicitor-general in the Straits Settlements. Mr. J. Bromhead- Matthews, barrister, was unanimously elected, subject to the approval of His Honour the Acting (governor. Mr. F. J. C. Ross(The Strait Times, 18-5-1900) He was appointed on 18-5-1900 as per Government Gazette dated 18-5-1900(ref: The Strait Time, 19-5-1900)

The Strait government to appoint in 1903 a Commission of Enquiry headed by J. Bromhead-Matthews, one of the founders of the legal firm of Messrs. Presgrave and Matthews. Thus the Commission investigated the cases of alleged mismanagement of waqf estates, which they considered, "a scandal to all good Mohamedans, a possible menace to public peace and a discredit to the administration of the Straits Settlements".
& ACHEEN STREET MOSQUE WAQF, by Khoo Salma Nasution, Penang Heritage Trust . ref:

Appointed as Attorney General of Bahama. Bahamas Chamber of Commerce started in 1907, with the object of fostering local trade and industry. Reportedly, at the instigation of the then Attorney General, Sir John Bromhead Matthews (later to become Chief Justice), the Chamber was reformed "for the promotion of the general interests of the colony. The Chamber found in 1799, have "became extinct" in May of I861. (

1909 – Wife Kate Isobel Parkin died at Bahama(source: The Time 8-9-1909) . John Bromhead Matthews left Bahama , and return to Strait Settlement as Attorney general.

1910- 2nd marriage; Sir John Bromhead Matthews married with Annette Amelia Kitson, daughter of the late Mr James Kitson of Elmete Hall, Leed on 10-9-1910,at St Martin on the Hill Church, Scarborough.(source: The Time, 13-9-1910)

He was appointed as Chief justice of Bahama, wife did not follow him to Bahama.

1911 – Son Stephen Mathews was born at Scarborough. John Bromhead Matthews resigned a year later after appointment

1912 – Daughter Ester Frances was born at Turnbridge, Kent , England

1914-1918 World War 1

World War I was a military conflict centered on Europe that began in the summer of 1914. The fighting ended in late 1918. During the War , he was Asst Food Commissioner, lecturer of National Service Commission, Chairman of Labour Advisory Committee, Chairman of East Surrey Court of Referees, magistrate for Kent, Chairman of Turnbridge Well bench.

1917 – Son Bryan was born at Turnbridge, Kent , England

1934 – Sir John Bromhead Matthews passed away at Mayfield Road, Boyne Park, Turnbridge Well on 5th August 1934. He was 70 years old.

1957 - Annette Amelia Kitson passed away on 9-12-1957

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