Straits Settlements Annual Reports (Singapore, Penang, Malacca, Labuan) 1855–1941

ISBN: (13) 978-1-85207-940-6    Published: 1998
Extent:  12 volumes, 7,850 pages, including 6 maps  Editor: R.L. Jarman
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings
See sample pages: not available
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RESUMÉ


The Straits Settlements were formed in 1826 by the amalgamation of the three Settlements of Singapore. In 1912 Labuan became the fourth Settlement. The British Government administered the colony directly from 1855. These documents trace the history and development of Malaysia and Singapore with the characteristic detail of the British Government at its administrative best.
This 12 volume set covers the years 1855 to 1941 and includes all the annual reviews ever produced of the colony as a whole. The reports are arranged in chronological order establishing, for the first time, an integral series gathered together from scattered Government files. There are also many instances of hitherto unknown or unreleased documents which were specially requested by the editor from the British Foreign Office to complete this series of reports.

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW


The Straits Settlements were formed in 1826 by the amalgamation of the three Settlements of Singapore (including Christmas Island and the Cocos-Keeling group), Penang (including Province Wellesley), and Malacca. Initially the seat of government was Penang but in 1836 Singapore became the capital. On 1 April 1867 the Straits Settlements were transferred from the control of the Indian Government to that of the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London. In 1912 Labuan became the fourth Settlement.
The status and composition of the Straits Settlements remained unchanged until the Second World War when they were occupied by the Japanese. In 1946, the Straits Settlements were dismantled and the four Settlements went their separate ways - Singapore became a separate colony; Penang and Malacca became parts of the Malayan Union (later the Federation of Malaya); and Labuan became part of British North Borneo (later named Sabah when it joined Malaysia).

DOCUMENTARY IMPORTANCE


This publication comprises all the annual reviews ever produced of the colony as a whole, researched and gathered together for the first time. There are five types of report in the main part of the collection:
1. Annual Reports to the Government of India
These were produced from 1855/56 to 1865/66, with a final summary "Report on the Progress of the Straits Settlements from 1859/60 to 1866/67".
2. Annual Reports on the Blue Books
The Blue Book was the collection of all available statistics of the colony, including details of all income and expenditure, accompanied by the Governor's (or Chief Secretary's) report on its contents.
In addition to the annual reports on the Straits Settlements as a whole, there were also annual reports for the individual Settlements of Penang, Malacca and Labuan (Singapore being included in the main report).
3. Governor's Address to the Legislative Council
Every year the Governor formally addressed the Legislative Council, and this Address usually reviewed the matters discussed over the year as well as providing a general political review.
In addition to these annual reviews, the Governor produced "Review of the progress of the Settlements since April 1867 (to 1873)". This has also been reproduced in this collection.
4. Colonial Secretary's Review to the Legislative Council
In 1930 the Colonial Secretary produced a review of the year for the Legislative Council, removing the need for a detailed Governor's Address. These reviews were discontinued in 1936, according to the Governor's Address of 25 October 1937; in its place was provided a more detailed memorandum on the Estimates.
5. Memorandum on the Estimates for the Legislative Council
As stated above, when the Colonial Secretary discontinued his annual review, a more detailed memorandum on the Estimates was provided.
6. Appendices
Reports on Labuan before Labuan became part of the Straits Settlements
Reports on the Christmas and Cocos-Keeling Islands.

ARRANGEMENT OF VOLUMES


This 12-volume set covers the years 1855 to 1941 and includes all the annual reviews ever produced of the colony as a whole. The reports are arranged in chronological order establishing, for the first time, an integral series gathered together from scattered Government files. There are also many instances of hitherto unknown or unreleased documents which were specially requested from the Foreign Office to complete this series of reports.
The volume by volume breakdown is as follows:
Volume 1: 1855-1867
Volume 2: 1868-1883
Volume 3: 1884-1891
Volume 4: 1892-1900
Volume 5: 1901-1907
Volume 6: 1908-1914
Volume 7: 1915-1921
Volume 8: 1922-1926
Volume 9: 1927-1931
Volume 10: 1932-1935
Volume 11: 1936-1941
Volume 12: Appendices

CONTENTS OUTLINE


The Annual Reports follow a standard format and the following topics are usually included:
  • Geography
  •  History
  • Climate with statistics
  • Government: role of the Governor; work of the Executive and Legislative Councils
  • Population: vital statistics; distribution of Europeans, Eurasians, Malays, Chinese, Indians, others; Migration statistics; movements of labour
  • Health: mortality from the principal diseases; hospitals and dispensaries; leper settlements; health and sanitation, anti-malarial work
  • Housing
  • Agriculture with statistics: rubber; coconuts; rice; pineapples; livestock; forestry; fisheries; minerals
  • Commerce: trade summary
  • Wages and the cost of living: average prices
  • Public finance and taxation: revenue and expenditure
  • Education and welfare institutions: statistics; English education; vocational and industrial education; university and collegiate education: King Edward VII School of Medicine, Singapore; Raffles College, Singapore; vernacular education: Malay/Chinese/Tamil, music, art, drama and recreation; orphanages
  • Communications and transport: shipping; roads; railways; airways; posts; money orders; telegraphs; telephones and wireless
  • Currency, banking, exchange: list of banks active
  • Public works: drainage, irrigation
  • Justice, police, prisons and reformations
  • Legislation
  • Miscellaneous: languages; land tenure; museums and gardens; events of the year.

MAPS


In addition to maps appearing in the text there are six folding maps contained in a pocket in volume 11.
01. Map of British Malaya in 1921 from the 1920 Annual Colonial Report for the Straits Settlements.
02. Map of the Dindings, 1934 from the 1934 Annual Colonial Report for the Straits Settlements.
03. Map of Singapore, 1938 from the 1938 Annual Colonial Report for the Straits Settlements.
04. Map of Penang Island and Province Wellesley, 1938 from the 1938 Annual Colonial Report for the Straits Settlements.
05. Map of Malacca Territory, 1938 from the 1938 Annual Colonial Report for the Straits Settlements.
06. Map of Labuan, 1938 from the 1938 Annual Colonial Report for the Straits Settlements.