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Collection Level Description: Papers of Sir Ernest Birch

Reference: GB 0162 MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 354
Title: Papers of Sir Ernest Birch
Dates of Creation: 1842-c1960
Extent: 12 boxes

Language of Material: English

Administrative/Biographical History

Ernest Woodford Birch (1857-1929) was the eldest son of J.W.W. Birch, first British Resident of Perak, Malaya. In 1876 he entered the Colonial Office as a clerk, and in 1878 became a cadet in the Civil Service of the Straits Settlements. He was sent to Singapore, where he was placed in the Secretariat under Sir Cecil Clementi Smith. During the next fourteen years he acted in various capacities in Singapore and Malacca. In 1885 he was sent on a special mission to the Cocos Keeling Islands. He was Secretary to the Governor of Perak, 1892-1897 and became in turn British Resident of Selangor, British Resident of the Negri Sembilan, Governor of Labuan and North Borneo, and finally the seventh British Resident of Perak, a post he held from 1904 until his retirement in 1910. After his retirement, he served for many years on the Council of the Overseas League, becoming Chairman in 1921. He was made Mayor of Bexhill in 1927 and was made KCMG in 1911. In 1882 he married Margaret Niven, with whom he had two sons and four daughters.

Scope and Content

Personal diaries of Mrs. Margaret Birch, 1896-1904 with a loose programme of amateur theatricals at the Tanglin Club, 1885; personal diaries of Ernest Birch, 1907-1909; personal diaries of Lady Birch, 1929-1931, 1934; papers relating mostly to Ernest Birch's career, c1876-1911; personal and family correspondence, etc., 1882-1926; newspaper cuttings, 1877-1930; photographs of Ernest Birch and family, 1866-c1960; miscellaneous items, 1842-1940.

Administrative Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated to the library by Mrs. Dinah Pritchard, E.W. Birch's grandaughter, and other members of the Birch family in March 1995.

Access Conditions

Bodleian reader's ticket required.

Reproduction Restrictions

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.

Further Information

Finding Aids

A handlist is available in the library reading room.

Related Units of Description

Testimonials to Ernest Birch and his wife, 1892-1907; photographs of J.W.W. Birch and various Malayan groups and scenes, c1870-1920 (ref. MSS. Ind. Ocn. t. 13). Diaries of J.W.W. Birch, 1874-1875; with correspondence, 1889-1929; manuscript and printed material mostly by E.W. Birch, [1898-1910]; printed papers concerning Malaya, 1852-1921; biographical material, [1910-1929] (ref. MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 242).

Access Points

Birch | Ernest Woodford | 1857-1929 | Sir | Knight Colonial Governor

Birch | Margaret | fl 1896-1931

Great Britain | Colonies | Malaysia | Administration

Great Britain | Colonies | Singapore | Administration

Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk
09 February 2012