John Cloake

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John Cecil Cloake
Born (1924-12-02)2 December 1924
Wimbledon, London
Died 9 July 2014(2014-07-09) (aged 89)[1]
Occupation Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Bulgaria, historian
Nationality British
Education King's College School, Wimbledon, London
Alma mater Peterhouse, Cambridge
Subject Local history
Notable awards CMG 1977,
FSA 1977,
Hon. DLitt. Kingston 2004
Spouse Margaret Thomure ("Molli") Morris
Children John

John Cloake CMG FSA D Litt (2 December 1924 – 9 July 2014) was a historian and author of several works mostly relating to the local history of Richmond upon Thames and surrounding areas. He was also a former United Kingdom diplomatic representative in Bulgaria.

Early life, education and military service[edit]

Cloake, the son of Dr Cecil Stedman Cloake and Maude Osborne Newling, was born and raised in Wimbledon, London, where he attended King's College School.[2] During and immediately after World War II Cloake served in the Army as lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in India and Japan. After the war he completed his studies, reading History at Cambridge University.[3]

Diplomatic career[edit]

In August 1948 Cloake commenced a career in the United Kingdom's Diplomatic Service, within the Foreign Office. Following an initial period in the Information Research Department, he was appointed Third Secretary in Baghdad in 1949 supporting Henry Mack and Jack Troutbeck. A posting to Saigon followed in 1951, first as Third Secretary then as Second Secretary. In 1956 he became Private Secretary to Permanent Under-Secretary Ivone Kirkpatrick during the time of the Suez Crisis, then to Douglas Dodds-Parker and, after that, to Ian Harvey.[3] In 1958 he transferred to New York as Commercial Consul. He then worked in Moscow and in Tehran. His final post was in Sofia as Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Bulgaria where he was in charge of the UK's diplomatic mission between 1976 and 1980.[2][4][5]

Local historian[edit]

Cloake and his wife moved to Richmond in 1962 and soon he began researching the area's rich local history. Cloake was a leading participant in the foundation of the Richmond Local History Society and of the Museum of Richmond of which he was its first chairman.[5] Cloake was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in March 1988,[6] and was awarded an Honorary DLitt. from Kingston University in 2004.[2]

He appeared as a local history expert in an episode of the archaeology TV programme Time Team, which revealed the footings of the lost Richmond Palace.


Cloake published many contributions to Richmond History, the Journal of the Richmond Local History Society (most recently, the 2014 issue),[7] and wrote several books including:

Personal life[edit]

While in Saigon, in 1952, he met Margaret ("Molli") Morris (1929–2008) from Washington, who was serving there in the United States Diplomatic Service, and they were married in Cambridge four years later in 1956. She died in 2008.[8]


He died on 9 July 2014.[9][10]


  1. ^ Dyduch, Amy (18 July 2014). "Museum of Richmond founder John Cloake has died, aged 89". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Cloake, John Cecil. Who's Who. 1920–2007 (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Wright, Abbey (April 2013). "Recollections of John Cloake's Diplomatic Career". British Diplomatic Oral History Programme. Churchill College Archive Centre, Cambridge University. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "A Very Canny Scot: Festival Icons of the Orthodox Church". Two Plus George Ltd. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Author and Former Diplomatic Servant Visits the Richmond Hill Campus". Richmond, The American International University in London. 22 May 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Mr John C Cloake CMG FSA". Fellows Directory. Society of Antiquaries of London. Retrieved 15 July 2014.  The entry reads: "Mr John C Cloake CMG FSA Degrees and Honours: MA Hon DLitt CMG Elected Date: 30 April 1998"
  7. ^ Richmond History: The Journal of Richmond History Society No 35 (2014). Richmond Local History Society. 2014. 
  8. ^ "Cloake". Telegraph announcements. 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Cloake, Mary (10 July 2014). "CLOAKE, John Cecil, C.M.G., F.S.A., D Litt.,". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "John Cloake 1924–2014". Richmond Local History Society. July 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Edwin Bolland
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at Sofia
Succeeded by
Giles Bullard