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Sir George Vandeleur Fiddes

(1858-1936), Colonial administrator and politician

Sitter in 2 portraits

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Sir George Vandeleur Fiddes, by Bassano Ltd - NPG x158447

Sir George Vandeleur Fiddes

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 11 January 1919
NPG x158447

Sir George Vandeleur Fiddes, by Bassano Ltd - NPG x158448

Sir George Vandeleur Fiddes

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 11 January 1919
NPG x158448

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John M. Carland

2 November 2015, 09:00

Sir George Fiddes played a substantial role in my PHD thesis (Univ of Toronto, 1977) and thus in the published form of the thesis (The Colonial Office and Nigeria, 1898-1914, Macmillan, 1985). Fiddes was smart, capable, and, as well, arrogant. He had a pithy way of expressing himself in his minutes. One of my favourite sayings of his, one I have had recreated in a calligraphic work of art and which I have used in a letter to the editor in the Washington Post, and which the museum might want to use goes as follows: "The inevitable result of getting something done is a crop of suggestions as to how much better it would have been to do it differently." in the minute he was grousing about dealing with his counterparts at the Treasury. Though perhaps not significant, it is, or so I believe, a wise and interesting statement about human behaviour not only in a bureaucracy but in life.

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