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Papers of Sir Ernest Birch


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


  • 1842-c1960


12 boxes

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 354].
Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 354

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 769

Biographical / Historical

Ernest Woodford Birch (1857-1929) was the eldest son of J.W.W. Birch, first British Resident of Perak, Malaya. In 1876 he entered the Colonial Office as a clerk, and in 1878 became a cadet in the Civil Service of the Straits Settlements. He was sent to Singapore, where he was placed in the Secretariat under Sir Cecil Clementi Smith. During the next fourteen years he acted in various capacities in Singapore and Malacca. In 1885 he was sent on a special mission to the Cocos Keeling Islands. He was Secretary to the Governor of Perak, 1892-1897 and became in turn British Resident of Selangor, British Resident of the Negri Sembilan, Governor of Labuan 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, becoming Chairman in 1921. He was made Mayor of Bexhill in 1927 and was made KCMG in 1911. In 1882 he married Margaret Niven, with whom he had two sons and four daughters.

Other Finding Aids

A handlist is available in the library reading room.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated to the library by Mrs. Dinah Pritchard, E.W. Birch's grandaughter, and other members of the Birch family in March 1995.

Related Materials

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]; printed papers concerning Malaya, 1852-1921; biographical material, [1910-1929] (ref. MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 242).
Papers of Sir Ernest Birch
Paul Davidson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom