Passport issued by the British consul in Hankou for a Missionary

british passport china

Passport issued by the British consul in Hankou for a Missionary

…in Chinese script

This very rare British Passport was issued by the UK Consulate in Hankou, China, as a Chinese version of the normal UK Passport to ensure local officials gave safe conduct to British visitors (mostly Missionaries). Hankou, close to the junction of the Yangtze and Han Rivers, was an important center for Missionary work in China. The Paper Passport is unique in that it was the only one issued in 1905 to the Rev. C. Carwardine, and is rare since only 65 such passports were issue in Hankou between January 1905 and mid-November 1905. It has two consular postage stamps (2 & 5 shillings) that have been authenticated with the Hankou Consular rubber-stamp (and signed for the consulate by W. Hitchens).The large red Chinese ‘Chock Stamps’ are those of the British Embassy (in Chinese Script) authorizing the passport. This document is in good condition considering the age and the very flimsy paper it is printed on. There are just a couple of small insignificant tears in the paper. The document measures about 21 by 17.5 inches (54 x 44 cm.). Congratulation to the winner who paid 1044 USD.


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  1. In 1932 my mother went as a missionary of the China Inland Mission (CIM) to the provincial city of Chenggu in the south of Shaanxi province. Rev C. Carwardine was the resident CIM missionary there at the time. He had been widowed in 1929. He was considered a rather difficult character who had not followed the theological expectations of the CIM. He had formed a breakaway church in the district. My guess is he had introduced a charismatic note into the austere CIM. Furthermore, he and his wife had adopted an orphaned Chinese child, a little girl called Mei Sui. This was strictly against the rules. By the time my mother arrived in Chenggu, Mr Carwardine was paying a Chinese woman to look after Mei Sui. The leaders of the CIM did their best to move him on. He was somewhat disillusioned with them. My mother thought well of him. He was a competent carpenter and built the Mission home. He resigned from the CIM and returned to England in late 1932. Fascinating to think his younger brother invented the anglepoise lamp.

  2. To add further interest to this document, I believe that its holder, the Reverend C. Carwardine was the elder brother of George Carwardine. George was the inventor of the Anglepoise lamp in 1932.

  3. Congrats to the winner too. "Nice item" doesn't cover it I think…
    Do you think this also makes these eBay sellers rethink about their prices? $9,999 – JAMES BUCHANAN – PASSPORT SIGNED 04/17/1848 (#300257085767) on eBay? Less expensive passport set. $3,100 – 1935 ROYAL BULGARIA MINISTER DIPLOMATIC EX PASSPORT (#110411459193)? Nice passport too for $ 1,200 – Colony Aden Protectorate + GB UK Passports WW2 1940 RRR (#190404527173)

    1. Theo, you are absolutely right. The last 2 mentioned items I have seen now frequently placed. Some sellers are far away from realistic prices. Sometimes I do contact them and tell them in a nice way that their price is not realistic. The answer you get sometimes is everthing but polite.

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