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Geoffrey Bonsall Papers

Identifier: 2012-044

Scope and Contents

The range of the Geoffrey Bonsall Papers starts in 1955 with Bonsall’s application to HKU, they end in 2009-2010 before his death. The collection mainly consists of correspondence, photographs, and written articles. The topical coverage for the collection includes Art History, Hong Kong History, and Hong Kong University as its main three areas. The collection is mostly complete with a few exceptions.


  • The documents included mainly range from the 1955-2009. One exception being a document from 1943 from an internment camp.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Geoffrey Bonsall was born in Wuhan, Hubei, China in 1924. His family returned to the UK in 1926. He worked briefly as a librarian in London before transferring to work in Hong Kong in 1955. One of the earliest documents included in the collection is his application to Hong Kong University to fill the assistant library position. He later became the second head of the University press, a position that let me him exercise his keen editing skills. Throughout his career he was involved with deciphering the shorthand of the artist Chinnery; he aided many authors in their publications relating to the artist. He also founded the Hong Kong branch of the Royal Asiatic society and acted at its head for many years. Under the alias of Charles Weatherhill (using his mother’s maiden name) he hosted a range of RTHK programs and covered sporting events like the Macau Gran Prix. Geoffrey’s expertise was tapped into by a number of organizations such as the Hong Kong Club and the Jardine to conduct projects into their respective histories. In addition to these official projects Geoffrey conducted his own private projects into sections of Hong Kong’s history that fascinated him.


3 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is organized in a topical manner, and for the most part is chronological at a folder level. However, for some folders there are exceptions and reverse chronological or no order at all may be present.

Papers of Geoffrey Bonsall Finding Aid.
Ben Peirson-Smith
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Hong Kong University Archives Repository