George Hood Papers

Scope and Content

The collection contains:

  • Minutes, finance reports and printed newsletters and other publications related to the Malaya Synod
  • Reports, minutes and correspondence on the Presbyterian Church in Malaysia and Singapore
  • Newsletters and policy created by English Presbyterian churches in Malaysia and Singapore
  • Minutes, reports and correspondence from the Malayan Christian Council and the Council of Churches of Malaysia and Singapore
  • Correspondence collected by Hood
  • Reports on Christian work in rural regions in East Asia
  • Journals and pamphlets produced by various churches and missions collected by Hood
  • Reports and statistics related to a study that Hood made on Selfhood and Universality

Administrative / Biographical History

George A. Hood, missionary of the Presbyterian Church of England, was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1917. He was educated at the Royal Grammar School and from there won a history scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated in history in 1938. He trained for the ministry at Westminster College, Cambridge (1938-1941), and this was followed by missionary training at Selly Oak, Birmingham; Chinese language study at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London; and experience of church extension work. He was a missionary in the Chaozhou (Chao'an) area of Guangdong (also known as Kwangtung, or Canton 1945-1950) and in Malaya and Singapore (1951-1972).

In China, Hood combined theological teaching with pastoral oversight of city and rural churches. In Malaysia he served the Chinese Presbyterian Church as a minister of both the Chinese and English-speaking congregations and in the whole range of its activities including acting as secretary of movements for church growth. For many periods he was also secretary of the Mission Council, made up of the missionaries working with that Church. Between 1969 and 1972 he was involved in research for the Conference of British Missionary Societies on the selfhood of the Church, and produced the report In Whole and in Part. When the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches formed the United Reformed Church he became East Asian Secretary of the Council for World Mission (1972-1977), and from 1977 to 1982, he taught at Selly Oak Colleges in the Department of Mission and served as tutor in St Andrew's Hall.

With the approach of retirement he was able to pursue his historical research into the church in China, and in 1985 received his PhD from the University of Birmingham. His thesis was on the history of the English Presbyterian Mission in Lingtung, South China and was published in 1986 under the title of Mission Accomplished? by Peter Lang, Frankfurt. Other books and articles, mostly relating to the church in China, have followed, including Neither Bang Nor Whimper (1991), an account of the end of the missionary era in China. Since 1981 he has visited China on numerous occasions and in 1985 became the first chairman of the Friends of the Church in China. In 1943, Hood married Elizabeth M. James, herself the daughter and grand-daughter of missionaries (since 1869) in the Chaozhou area of China.

Access Information

Open to researchers. It is essential to arrange an appointment in advance to view the archive in order that someone can be available to help. Please contact us by email at Telephone the Centre on: 0131 650 8900. Postal address: Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh School of Divinity, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2LX.

Acquisition Information

The collection was presented to the Centre in the early 1990s by George Hood.

Other Finding Aids

A paper catalogue is available to researchers at the Centre, listing items in more detail.

Archivist's Note

Description originally written and researched by Caroline Brown in July 2001. This was added to Archives Hub in August 2012 by Louise Williams.


We expect to add no more material to this collection.

Geographical Names