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Sir John Stuart Macpherson

(1898-1971), Colonial official and civil servant

Sitter in 6 portraits

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Sir John Stuart Macpherson, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x186410

Sir John Stuart Macpherson

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, September 1957
NPG x186410

Web image not currently available

Sir John Stuart Macpherson

by Elliott & Fry
bromide print, 30 March 1948
NPG x90504

Web image not currently available

Sir John Stuart Macpherson

by Elliott & Fry
half-plate glass negative, 30 March 1948
NPG x92892

Web image not currently available

Sir John Stuart Macpherson

by Elliott & Fry
half-plate glass negative, 30 March 1948
NPG x92893

Web image not currently available

Sir John Stuart Macpherson

by Elliott & Fry
half-plate glass negative, 30 March 1948
NPG x92894

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Dr Ben Knighton

14 June 2019, 12:16

Sir John Stuart Macpherson (25 August 1898 – 5 November 1971) GCMG was a British colonial administrator who served as the Governor of Nigeria from 1948 to 1955 Born in Edinburgh as the son of a hotel manager, Macpherson was educated at George Watson's College and at the University of Edinburgh. In 1917, he was commissioned into the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders; he was wounded in action on the Western Front, and had to wear a steel corset for the rest of his life.
After World War I, Macpherson entered the Malayan Civil Service. Between 1933 and 1935 he was seconded to the Colonial Office. He was appointed Principal Assistant Secretary in Nigeria in 1937 and Chief Secretary of Palestine in 1939, serving there until 1943. In 1943 he was posted to Washington as Head of British Colonies Supply Mission and joint British Chairman of Anglo-American Caribbean Commission. Between 1945 and 1948 he was Comptroller for Development and Welfare in the West Indies and British co-Chairman of the Caribbean Commission.
In 1948, Macpherson was appointed Governor of Nigeria (Governor-General from 1954), serving in that post until his retirement in 1955; he was succeeded by James Wilson Robertson. As Governor, Macpherson was responsible for the introduction of the 1951 Constitution (unofficially known as the Macpherson Constitution), which provided for "semi-responsible government". He also accelerated the Africanization of the Nigerian public service.
After his governorship, Macpherson served as the Chairman of the United Nations Visiting Mission to Trust Territories of the Pacific in 1956. The same year, he was appointed Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, serving until 1959.
CMG in 1941, promoted to KCMG in 1945 and GCMG in 1951.

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