Herbert Thirkell White

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Sir Herbert Thirkell White
Herbert Thirkell White.jpg
Lieutenant Governor of Burma
In office
9 May 1905 – 19 May 1910
Preceded byHugh Shakespear Barnes
Succeeded byHarvey Adamson
Personal details
Died1931 (1932) (aged 76)
Fannie Sophia Hawes
(m. 1877⁠–⁠1931)
Alma materDulwich College and Brasenose College

Sir Herbert Thirkell White KCIE CSI (1855–1931) was the Lieutenant Governor of the British Indian province of Burma (1905–1910) and author of works about Burma.


The son of Richard White, he was educated at Dulwich College and Brasenose College, Oxford. White joined I.C.S., served in all lower grades of the public service and was posted as Commissioner, Burma-China Boundary, 1897; appointed Chief Judge of the Chief Court, Burma, 1900; Lieut.-Governor, Burma, 1905–1910. During his time as Lieutenant Governor, he reduced the amount of the annual tributes from the Shan Chiefs and promoted education among them and carried out certain Railway Extensions in the Shan States.[1] White was the Secretary to Upper Burma from 1886 to 1890, the period that was immediately after the annexation of Upper Burma by the British following the Third Anglo-Burmese War. Other offices he held in Burma included the Chief Secretary of Burma and as a justice on various Burmese courts.[2] White was also a member of the 1897-98 boundary commission between Britain and China.[3]

He married Fannie Sophia Hawes, daughter of Captain William Hawes, Indian Navy in 1877.[1] After his 32 years in Burma, he returned to England and lived in St. Ives, where he wrote A Civil Servant in Burma and the Burma volume of the series Provincial Geographies of India. He died in 1932 in St. Ives.[3]

White was the author of several books on Burma, the best known of which is the classic, A Civil Servant in Burma (E. Arnold, 1913), which is based on the 32 years (1878–1910) he spent as a civil servant in that province. White also authored the fourth volume Burma of the four volume series "Provincial Geographies of India" which was published between 1913 and 1923 from the Cambridge University Press under the editorship of Thomas Henry Holland.


  • 1855–1892: Herbert Thirkell White
  • 1892–1902: Herbert Thirkell White, CSI
  • 1902–1931: Sir Herbert Thirkell White, KCIE[4]

Published works[edit]

  • A Civil Servant in Burma. London, E. Arnold (1913)
  • Burma. Cambridge, The University Press (1923)


  1. ^ a b C. Hayavando Rao, ed. (1915). "White, Hon'ble Sir Herbert Thirkell" . The Indian Biographical Dictionary. Madras: Pillar & Co. pp. 462–63.
  2. ^ The Westminster Review. Vol. 168. New York: Leonard Scott Publishing Company. July 1907. p. 483.
  3. ^ a b Piness, Edith L. (1983). "The British Administrator in Burma: A New View". Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 14 (2): 372–378. doi:10.1017/S0022463400011024. JSTOR 20070536.
  4. ^ Great Britain. India Office The India List and India Office List for 1905, p. 145, at Google Books

External links[edit]

Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of British Crown Colony of Burma
Succeeded by