John Stewart Black's journals written on tours of Siam and Java

Scope and Content

The three journals give an account of tours of Java (1894) and Siam [Thailand] (1895) by John Stewart Black. They contain information on the population, economy, government and landscape of the regions through which he travelled. Black recorded details of the officials and other individuals that he met, and on local government, clothing, customs, languages, the values of various goods, transport, and the military. He also recorded the temperature on each day of his tours.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Stewart Black (1865-1930), barrister and consular official, joined the Consular Service as a student interpreter in Siam [Thailand] in 1888. Black became an Assistant in 1893 and First Assistant in 1896. He was appointed Vice-Consul at Bangkok in 1897, and was later Acting Consul and Judge of the Consular Court at the British Legation. In 1901 he was admitted to the bar, at the Middle Temple. He resigned from the Consular Service in 1902 to become the Judicial Adviser to the King of Siam until 1910. He returned to Britain and settled in Wrotham, Kent, where he was head of the special police. During the First World War, Black held positions at the Ministry of Munitions and the Ministry of Food. Black was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, elected in 1896, and contributed papers to the 'Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society'. He was also a Grand Officer of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant of Siam.


The journals are arranged chronologically.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Donated to SOAS Library in June 2017

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