John Hellyer Liddell

John Hellyer Liddell CBE (1899–1984) was businessman who served as the last British chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council from 1941 to 1942.

John Liddell
John Hellyer Liddell.jpg
Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council
In office
May 1941 – January 1942
Preceded byWilliam Johnston Keswick
Succeeded byKatsuo Okazaki
Personal details
Born(1899-06-29)June 29, 1899
Shanghai, China
Died(1984-01-24)January 24, 1984
Alameda, California
RelationsSir Charles Oswald Liddell (Grandfather)
Ian Oswald Liddell (Cousin)


Liddell was born June 29, 1899 in Shanghai. He was the son of John and Marion (Hellyer) Liddell. He was educated at Marlborough College from which he graduated in 1919. He immediately joined the family firm of Liddell Bros which had been established in Shanghai in the 1880s by his uncle C. Oswald Liddell. His father had joined the firm in 1888. In 1932 he became managing director or Liddell Bros & Co Ltd.[1]

He married Grace Coutts in Shanghai on November 21, 1927.[2]

In 1941, he was chosen to be the Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council. (Technically, he was Chairman of the Provisional Council that had been established to take over from the SMC.) He was chairman when the Japanese occupied the Shanghai International Settlement on December 8, 1941 at the start of the Pacific War. He remained in position until January 5, 1942 when he and all other British and American members of the council resigned. Katsuo Okazaki was appointed in his place.

Liddell was interned in Shanghai for the duration of the war.[3] Following the war, he moved to California.[4]

Liddell was appointed a CBE in 1947.[5]


Liddell died on 21 January 1984, in Alameda, California.[6]


  1. ^ Liddell's entry in Men of Shanghai and North China.
  2. ^ Liddell's entry in Men of Shanghai and North China.
  3. ^ Chicago Daily Tribune, July 23, 1945, p13
  4. ^ Jackson, Isabella, Shaping Modern Shanghai: Colonialism in China's Global City, p246
  5. ^ London Gazette, 1 January 1947, p18
  6. ^ California Death Record Index, 1940-1997