21 Cromwell Road


South Kensington
London, SW5 0SD
United Kingdom
Date began: 
01 Aug 1910

Following recommendations from the Lee-Warner Committee that met in 1907 to inquire into the position of Indian students in the UK, the Secretary of State decided to find a building that would house various organizations concerned with Indian students to provide a focal point for visitors to London.

A detached corner house was found at 21 Cromwell Road, opposite the Natural History Museum and near to the Imperial Institute and the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was rented by the India Office. The National Indian Association, the Northbrook Society and a newly-created Bureau of Information for Indian Students were all housed in this building in August 1910. However, the costs of renting rooms in the building soon became high. This was regarded as one of the reasons for the financial decline of the National Indian Association by the end of the decade.

The building was used for 'at homes', lectures, meetings and soirees by the National Indian Association. It provided newspapers and recreational activities such as billiards for British and Indian visitors to the Northbrook Society. A number of rooms were provided by the Northbrook Society for short-term lodging by Indian students - primarily for Indians when they first arrived in the country, before they were able to make other arrangements. The Educational Advisor met Indian students and provided them with advice about courses, degrees and lodgings in the UK.

Key Individuals' Details: 

Thomas Arnold (Educational Advisor), E. J. Beck (Honorary Secretary of NIA).

Archive source: 

Indian Magazine and Review 476 (August 1910); 477 (September 1910)

The Times, 2 June and 27 September 1910, 21 January 1911

NIA minutes, Mss Eur F147/10-11, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras 

See references to 21 Cromwell Road in 'Passage to Oxford', K. P. S. Menon papers, Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi