Papers of Sir Ernest Birch

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

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

Administrative / Biographical History

Ernest Woodford Birch (1857-1929) was the eldest son of J.W.W. Birch, firstBritish Resident of Perak, Malaya. In 1876he entered the Colonial Office as a clerk, and in 1878 became a cadet in theCivil Service of the Straits Settlements. He was sent to Singapore, wherehe was placed in the Secretariat under Sir Cecil Clementi Smith. During the nextfourteen years he acted in various capacities in Singapore and Malacca. In1885 he was sent on a special mission to the Cocos Keeling Islands. He wasSecretary to the Governor of Perak, 1892-1897 and became in turn BritishResident of Selangor, British Resident of the Negri Sembilan, Governor ofLabuan 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, becomingChairman in 1921. He was made Mayor of Bexhill in 1927 and was made KCMG in1911. In 1882 he married Margaret Niven, with whom he had two sons and fourdaughters.

Conditions Governing Access

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


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

Other Finding Aids

A handlist is available in the library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Related Material

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]; printedpapers concerning Malaya, 1852-1921; biographical material, [1910-1929](ref. MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 242).