Papers of J.C. Griffiths

Scope and Content

Article entitled On Understanding the Chinese byGriffiths, 1997.

Administrative / Biographical History

J.C. Griffiths (b c1913), OBE (1983) graduated from Jesus College, Oxford, then joined the Indian Civil Service, finding a posting at Penukonda as sub-collector, 1939. He was transferred to Hosur, 1940, then to Malappuram, 1941, first as sub-collector, then, from 1944, district supplies officer. In [1945?] he became Assistant Secretary to the Board of Revenue, Madras, then sub-collector, Coonoor, 1946, collector, Malabar, 1947 and collector, Chittoor, [c1948?].

In 1948 he left India to work as a trainee in Jacob's (cream cracker manufacturers), Liverpool and Dublin, then joined the Colonial Service in Malaya (during a period of Communist conflict), as a resettlement officer, 1951, then Assistant Comissioner for Labour and, from 1952, Deputy Commissioner for Labour for Pahang, Kelantan and Trengannu. In 1953 he was transferred to Singapore as Assistant Secretary (Negotiations) in the Establishment Office, and over the next three years was twice appointed Secretary to Special Commissions.

In 1956 he was posted to Northern Rhodesia, as district officer, then district commissioner, Chinsali, 1959 and district officer, Kasama in the same year. In 1960 he entered the Colonial Judiciary, starting in the Magistrates' Courts, Lusaka and gaining the post of Resident Magistrate, Fort Rosebery, [c1963?]. Soon afterwards he became Legal Adviser to the Commissioner of the British South Africa Police, Southern Rhodesia, then found a position in Zomba, Malawi, 1967.

In 1970 he moved to Hong Kong where he worked as a magistrate for the next twelve years, being elected President of the Magistrates' Association in his second year and finally enrolling as a member of the Hong Kong Bar shortly before leaving in 1982.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Paul Davidson, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

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


Bound copy of Griffiths' unpublished autobiography, 1993, AWelshman Overseas, covering his service in India, Malaya, Rhodesia andHong Kong; and typescript description, 1984, of life as a magistrate in Hong Kong,1970-1982, donated by Griffiths on 18th August 1997.