Papers of Sir Charles Campbell Woolley

Scope and Content

Papers relating to Woolley's service in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Jamaica, Cyprus and British Guiana (now Guyana). Included are:

  • Papers concerning the visit by the Duke of Gloucester to Ceylon in 1934 and an earlier visit by the Duke and other officials
  • Cuttings from West Indian newspapers, including accounts of the 'New Deal' for Jamaica introduced by Woolley (a land settlement scheme, involving Government expenditure of half a million pounds, to help labourers and the unemployed)
  • Drafts and notes for speeches and broadcasts delivered by Woolley
  • Cuttings about Winston Churchill's visit to Cyprus in February 1943, and the Knighthood subsequently conferred on Woolley
  • Correspondence, including letters from Arthur Creech Jones, Sir Gordon Lethem, Sir George Gater, Sir Hugh Foot and Lord Winster
  • Cuttings from British Guianan newspapers

There is little material in the collection relating to Woolley's time as Chief Secretary in Nigeria. References in the correspondence about his move to Cyprus suggest that wartime conditions may have necessitated the abandonment of relevant papers.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Charles Campbell Woolley was born on the 1 January 1893 in Barry, Wales, and educated at University College, Cardiff. He served with the South Wales Borderers (1914-1920) and saw active service in France, Salonika, Constantinople and the Caucasus. He attained the rank of Captain, held various Staff appointments and was awarded the Military Cross.

In 1921 Woolley entered the Ceylon Civil Service in which he served for 14 years. During his time in Ceylon he was appointed Secretary to the Governor (July 1931) and awarded the OBE after the visit by the Duke of Gloucester (1934). He left Ceylon in 1935 when he was appointed Colonial Secretary in Jamaica; in 1937 he was awarded the CMG in recognition of his skilful handling of the island's labour troubles. In 1938, on the death of the Governor of Jamaica, Sir James Denham, Woolley became acting Governor. Later that year he was transferred to Nigeria where he held the post of Chief Secretary (1938-1941) and also administered the Government at various times. In 1941 he was appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Cyprus (1941-1946) and in 1947 became Governor and Commander-in-Chief of British Guiana, a post he held until his retirement from the Civil Service in 1953.

Woolley was President of the International Society for the Protection of Animals (1969-1971) and President of the Southern Counties Orchestral Society. He was awarded the GBE 1953 (OBE 1934), KCMG 1943 (CMG 1937), MC, LLD and KJStJ.

Woolley died on the 20 August 1981.

Conditions Governing Access

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


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

Administrative/Biographical History compiled with reference to Who Was Who.

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room and a handlist is also available for this collection.

Listed as nos. 364, 424 and 641 in Manuscript Collections (excluding Africana) in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, compiled by Louis B. Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1970).

Conditions Governing Use

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