Henry Higgs

(1864—1940) civil servant and economist

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Higgs was born 4 March 1864 in Cornwall, the eleventh of thirteen children of Samuel Nicholas Higgs, master butcher, and his wife Anne. He died in Brighton on 21 May 1940. Of obscure and humble origins, which influenced his career choice and made essential the early attainment of financial security for his family, Higgs took full advantage of the meritocratic opportunities offered by a newly reformed civil service. Entering as a lower division clerk in 1881, he passed the competition for Class I in 1884, and for the next fifteen years served in the secretary's office of the General Post Office. Transferring to the Treasury in 1899, he attracted the attention of its Permanent Secretary, Edward Hamilton, from whom he learnt of the intricacies of Britain's public finances and which he in turn communicated in a series of books (1914, 1917, 1919, 1924), many of them originating in his frequent periods as Newmarch lecturer. He became private secretary to a succession of ministers, culminating with Henry Cambell-Bannerman when prime minister from 1905–8. He served as a special commissioner to Natal in 1902–3 and as inspector-general of finance in Egypt from 1912–15. He retired in 1921 as principal clerk. Higgs married Winifred Sarah South in 1908, and they had at least one Child.


From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Economics.

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