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Clark, Sir William Henry, 1876-1952 (Knight and colonial administrator)



Sir William Henry Clark (1876-1952), knight and colonial administrator, was born on 1 January 1876 in Cambridge, the younger of the two sons of John Willis Clark (1833–1910), superintendent of the Museum of Zoology and later registrar of Cambridge University, and his wife, Frances Matilda (1845–1908), daughter of Sir Andrew Buchanan. Clark won a scholarship to Eton College and later to Trinity College, Cambridge, where in 1897 he was awarded a BA, with first-class honours in the classical tripos. The next year he achieved a high position in the civil service entrance examinations and was appointed in 1899 as a clerk in the Board of Trade. During 1902 he was made acting second secretary in the diplomatic service and in 1903 he was appointed CMG. From 1903-5, Clark was secretary to the royal commission set up to consider the supply of food and raw materials in time of war and in light of the searing lessons of the recent South African War, and from 1906 to 1908 he was private secretary to the president of the Board of Trade, Lloyd George, and for a brief time to his successor, Winston Churchill. In 1916 Clark returned to England and to the Board of Trade. Clark was Britain's first high commissioner to be appointed to Canada, arriving in Ottawa in 1928. Clark was then appointed high commissioner in the Union of South Africa and simultaneously to the high commission territories of Basutoland, the Bechuanaland protectorate, and Swaziland, posts which he took up in January 1935. Clark returned to England in 1939 when he succeeded Sir Halford Mackinder as chairman of the imperial shipping committee. He retired from public service in 1940. He died in the Evelyn Nursing Home, Cambridge, on 22 November 1952.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:


Sir William Henry Clark: Letter to A.T. Bartholomew, 1913

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.4251/264
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Artificial collection of single item or small collection accessions. Mainly correspondence but includes other papers.

Dates: 1913
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (