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HomeContents > People > Photographers > James Wheeler Woodford Birch

Dates:  1826, 3 April - 1875, 2 November
Died:  Malaya

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John Falconer, British Library 
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia

Amateur, Sri Lanka, Malaysia
Son of Rev. James Wheeler Birch, Vicar of All Saints, Hertford. He served in the Royal Navy for a period and was stationed in H.M.S. Alfred off the South Amercian coast. Entered Ceylon Civil Service and appointed Commissioner of Roads Department, Dec 1846; Writer, Ceylon Civil Service, Nov 1852, attached to Government Agentís Office, Jaffna; Joint Commissioner of Requests and Police Magistrate, Jaffna, Apr 1853; Galle, Oct 1853; Mallakam, Jan 1854; Chavakachchaeri, Jan 1854; acting Assistant Government Agent, Trincomalee, Aug 1854; District Judge, Batticaloa, Mar 1856; acting Assistant Government Agent, Batticaloa, 1859-63; Ratnapura, Sept 1864; Kurunegala, Aug 1865; Hambantota, Jul 1866; Eastern Province, 1867; Colonial Secretary, Straits Settlements, 1870-4; first British Resident of Perak, Nov 1874-5. Murdered in the course of his work. Birch photographed the ruins of Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka, which were later marketed by the firm of Skeen and Co., and also sent a series of his photographs of his tours in Perak and Selangor to the Colonial Office in 1874. Two prints by Birch are also pasted into some copies of Memoranda, etc., on Malayan Peninsula and Perak (Calcutta, 1875). [Ceylon Civil List, 1870; Colonial Office List, 1874; Straits Settlements Blue Books; Boase.]
[Foreign and Commonwealth Office Library; Rhodes House Library] 

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