Passports Of British Consul Arthur Woodhouse

Passports Of British Consul Arthur Woodhouse C.B.E.

This is a remarkable document lot of ARTHUR WOODHOUSE, ESQ, C.B.E., who held several posts as British Consul. It’s quite unusual to find such documents all related to one Consul, and this makes this document-lot special.

  • One passport 1908 (him), issued at St.Petersburg
  • One passport 1913 (him & wife), issued at St.Petersburg
  • One passport 1912 (wife), issued in London
  • One French appointment certificate 1906
    (for the Island Saint Pierre and Miquelon signed by French President Armand Fallières)
  • One British appointment certificate, Consul Gothenburg, signed King George V
  • Three related documents
    (Foreign Office 1911, Letter 1921 UK Ambassador Sweden, Certificate of CBE)
  • One Webster pedigree

A total of nine papers and all are in excellent condition (the lineage has some small corner damage). King George’s appointment certificate is vast & representative!

Some remarks:
1908 passport was issued partly with a typewriter (quite unusual!)
1912 comes with excellent Russian revenues!
1913 British Minister in Sweden at that time was Sir Colville Adrian de Rune Barclay, who informed Woodhouse by letter (included) that he received the CBE. Barclay wrote, “…it’s not suggested that you undertake the journey for the sole and express purpose to receive the decoration…”. Ambassador in St.Petersburg was then Sir George William Buchanan.


His 1913 passport also confirms in handwritten Russian language that:
“British national Arthur William Webster Woodhouse, Consul of His Britannic Majesty in Saint-Petersburg married a second marriage with a widow of state Councillor Maria Petrovna Voznesenskaya on this February 15th, 1913 in Voskresenskaya Church of Sergiy Brotherhood in Saint-Petersburg, in which the church’s seal affixed and witnessed.” of Voskresenskaya Church of Sergiy Brotherhood reverend Alexander Vasilevskiy parish clerk Vasiliy Shitov, Saint-Petersburg, 15th February 1913, № 82

Woodhouse, William Webster, Arthur, CBE in 1920; born at sea, 31st May 1867, eldest son of late HBM Consul Arthur Woodhouse and Mary Rachel, daughter of Richard Webster, Jersey; married 1st 1892, Selina, daughter of Henry’s the Rogers, Odessa; 2nd Marie, widow of Voznesenky by Vladimir, the St. Petersburg; daughter one’s, one’s Adopted daughter, (one’s son deceased). Educated: Oxford House Academy, Jersey. Entered Consulate-General at Odesa as a clerk, 1886; employed on the Afghan Boundary Commission, 1887-88; Vice-Consul, Batoum, 1891; Acting Consul-General at Odesa in 1891-94, and 1901 and 1903; Vice-Consul at Odesa in 1893; Acting Vice-Consul Sevastopol 1894 transferred to Nicolaiev 1895; to Boston in 1905; Consul in St. Pierre-Miquelon in 1906; transferred to Thorshavn 1907; St. Petersburg in 1907; Coronation medal in 1911, arrested by Bolshevik Forces, 30Th August 1918; imprisoned in Troubetskoi Bastion until 6th October and left Petrograd 10th October 1918; Consul-General at New Orleans in 1919; Acting Consul-General at Genoa in 1920; HBM’s Consul-General Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1921; retired 1927. Interesting! Woodhouse was during the Russian revolution Consul-General in Petrograd, the British, and Consul Thomas Preston in Ekaterinburg urged the foreign office to get the Romanov’s out of the country! (Source) The British National Archives keeps several documents of Consul Woodhouse

Thanks to my fellow collector Albert V. for translating the Russian part and for the additional information on his biography


incl. FREE guideline!

FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...