Papers of Wilfred Lawson Blythe

Scope and Content

The collection comprises official departmental annual reports, intelligence reports, despatches, photographs and other reference material assembled by Wilfred Lawson Blythe for his research on secret societies in Malaya, used in his subsequent publication Secret Societies in Malaya (1969).

Administrative / Biographical History

Wilfred Lawson Blythe was born on 9 November 1896 and was educated at the Universities of Liverpool and Grenoble. He served in the First World War, 1915 - 1919 and joined the Malayan Civil Service in 1921. He studied Chinese in Canton during 1922-1924 and became the Protector of Chinese in various parts of Malaya during 1926-1936. He served as the Deputy President of the Municipality in Penang, 1936-1937 and again in 1939-1940 and as Deputy Controller of Labour (Chinese) during 1941-1942. He served with the Army in Malaya in 1942 and was interned from 1942-1945. In 1946 he became the Secretary for Chinese Affairs, Federation of Malaya. From 1948-1950 he became the President of the Municipal Commission in Singapore. In 1950 he became Colonial Secretary of Singapore and remained there until his retirement in 1953. In 1969 he wrote Secret Societies in Malaya. He married Muriel Gertrude Woodward in 1925. He died in 1975.


The collection is arranged into the following categories: primary sources (official papers of the government departments of the federation of Malaya and Singapore, despatches to and from the Secretary of State and proceedings of the Legislative Council); other reference material collected for Blythe's research on secret societies (triads) in Malaya; draft manuscripts, typescripts and other notes by Blythe; articles and books by other researchers, press cuttings and miscellaneous; photographs.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Donated in 1985.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Related Material

Associated Material held elsewhere: Wilfred Lawson Blythe, papers [for location see Chris Cook, Sources in British Political History 1900-1951 , Vol.2 1975]