high Commission

Firoz Khan Noon


Firoz Khan Noon arrived in England in July 1912 to study. He initially lived at the student hostel on 21 Cromwell Road, London. Because of colour prejudice, it was difficult for Indian students to find accommodation. The students’ department of the India Office made arrangements for him to stay with the family of the Reverend Lloyd who was a vicar at Ticknall, 10 miles from Derby. Lloyd helped Noon to be admitted to Wadham College, Oxford University. Initially Noon had applied to Balliol College, but he did not gain admission. Firoz Khan Noon built up a close relationship with the family and lived with them until October 1913. 

While at Oxford, on his father's advice, Noon mixed with very few Indian students. In his autobiography, Noon explained that ‘his idea was that I could see a lot of Indians in my own country but when I was abroad I must learn something about foreign people’ (From Memory, p. 70). At Oxford, Noon was a keen football player. He also played hockey for the Isis Club. Noon travelled regularly to London where he attended dinners at the Inner Temple, under the tutelage of Dr Hubbard. He also studied Persian with Professor Browne at the University of Cambridge. He graduated from Oxford with a BA in History in 1916. In later years, Noon was made an Honorary Fellow of Wadham College. During his time at Oxford he did not attend the meetings of the Majlis, preferring to devote most of his time to his studies.

After he finished his degree, Noon moved to London to sit his law examinations. He became a Barrister-at-Law of the Inner Temple within nine months and returned to India in September 1917. He set up a practice as a lawyer in the District Courts of Sargodha. He stood for the 1920 Lahore Legislative Council elections and won with a majority of nearly 10,000. He subsequently moved to Lahore, where he practised at the High Court. He was a member of the Provincial Legislative Council of the Punjab from 1920 to 1936 and a Minister for ten years. He was appointed High Commissioner for India in London in July 1936, a position he held for five and a half years.

Noon led the Indian delegation at the International Labour Organization meetings in Geneva in 1938-9. In 1938, Firoz Khan Noon, received a delegation from the Jamiat-ul-Muslimin who presented a petition to him in protest against H. G. Wells’ A Short History of the World. While in London he met Ernest Bevin, with whom he became good friends. Noon liked him for his outspokenness and his support for Indian independence. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he moved into the bomb shelter at India House. He fulfilled night-watch duties on the roof of India House. Furthermore, Noon was instrumental in helping to set up the Indian Comforts Fund, offering it space at India House. In 1939, he assumed the role of mediator to broker a deal to end the strike of Indian seamen that commenced with the outbreak of the Second World War in relation to pay and conditions. Noon was approached by the Board of Trade with a brief to minimize concessions to the sailors. However, Noon’s negotiating tactics with the lascars were unsuccessful, with shipping lines going back on terms agreed in the High Commissioner’s office. When a deal was brokered in December 1939, the India Office wanted to make sure that credit was accorded not to Surat Alley, London representative of the All India Seamen’s Federation, but rather to Noon and the Shipping Companies.

Firoz Khan Noon was present at the Caxton Hall meeting when Udham Singh shot Michael O’Dwyer in 1940. Noon returned to India having been appointed a Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council in 1941 where he became responsible for the defence portfolio. After independence, Firoz Khan Noon became Foreign and Prime Minister of Pakistan. He published Wisdom for Fools (1940), a book of stories for children, and the novel Scented Dust (1941). He died in 1970.

Published works: 

Canada and India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1939)

Wisdom from Fools (Lahore: Rai Sahib M. Gulab Singh & Sons, 1940)

Scented Dust (Lahore: R.S.M. Gulab Singh & Sons 1942)

‘India’, in Walter James Turner (ed.) The British Commonwealth and Empire (London: William Collins, 1943)

From Memory (Lahore: Ferozsons 1966)

Date of birth: 
07 May 1893

Surat Alley, Lady Amery, Lord Amery, Ernest Bevin, Z. A. Bokhari, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Weldon Crossland (American student friend from Oxford), Lady Curry, Edward VIII, Hari Singh Gour, Sudhindra Nath Ghose, Malcolm Hailey, Ali Khan (fellow Indian student at Oxford), Reverend Lloyd of Ticknall, Edwin Lutyens, Malcolm Macdonald, Mrs Nanda, Percy Nichols (student friend from Oxford) Said Amir Shah, Uday Shankar, Rex Smith (student friend from Oxford), Geoffrey Wells (Noon’s tutor at Oxford), James Wilson (Indian civil servant), Lord Zetland.

Indian High Commisssion in London

Contributions to periodicals: 
Secondary works: 

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto Press, 2002)

Archive source: 

MT 9/315, National Archives, Kew

L/I/1/1479, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Involved in events: 
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Current name country of birth: 


49 Putney Hill
London, SW1 SQP
United Kingdom
52 Parliament Hill Hampstead
London, NW3 2SSP
United Kingdom
51° 33' 28.278" N, 0° 9' 43.7544" W
Date of death: 
09 Dec 1970
Location of death: 
Lahore, Pakistan
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jul 1912
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1912-18, 1936-41

Atul Chandra Chatterjee


Atul Chandra Chatterjee was an administrator in India and later became High Commissioner in London. He first arrived in Britain in 1893, having won a Government of India scholarship to study at King’s College, Cambridge. He graduated with a Second Class in history in 1895. In 1896 he successfully sat the Indian Civil Service exam. He returned to India in 1897, taking up a post as district administrator in the United Provinces. Chatterjee pursued a successful career in the ICS. By 1921 he had been promoted to Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Industries and in 1923 he joined the Department’s Executive Council.

In 1924, Chatterjee married Galdys Mary Broughton, who advised the Government of India on women’s and child welfare. In 1924, Chatterjee accepted the offer of the post of High Commissioner for India in London, which he held until 1931. He was the driving force behind the building of India House, Aldwych, which houses the Indian High Commission to this day. The building was opened in 1930 by George V. In London, Chatterjee represented the Indian Government at the International Labour Conference as well as the League of Nations. He also represented the Indian Government at the London Naval Conference in 1930.

His experience as an administrator and his diplomatic skills were highly respected and reflected in the honours that were bestowed on him. He was made a KCIE in 1925 and KCSI in 1930. Subsequent to being High Commissioner, Chatterjee sat on the Council of India for five years. In 1942 he became Advisor to the Secretary of State for India, a post he held until 1947.

Chatterjee also took an interest in the arts. He was a member of the council of the Royal Academy of Arts for twenty years and its chairman from 1939 to 1940. He was also a member of the Royal Asiatic Society and Vice-Chairman of the East India Association. He published widely on Indian history. He remained in England after Indian independence and died in Sussex in September 1955.

Published works: 

Notes on the Industries of the United Provinces (Allahabad, 1908)

Moreland, William Harrison and Chatterjee (Sir Atul Chandra), A Short History of India...With 8 Maps (London: Longmans, 1936)

'Recent Social Changes in India', Journal of the Royal Society of Arts 89 (1940-1), pp. 3-14

Burn, Sir Richard and Chatterjee, Atul Chandra, British Contributions to Indian Studies (London: Longmans, 1943)

The New India (Allen & Unwin, 1948)

The Art of Katherine Mansfield: An Enquiry into the Meaning and Technique of the Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield in the Background of the Modern Short Story in England and Elsewhere (New Delhi: S. Chand & Co., 1980) 

Date of birth: 
24 Nov 1874

Richard Burn, Sir Harcourt Butler, Sir Thomas Holland, Sir James Meston, W. H. Moreland, William Rothenstein, Ranjit Singh, Edward J. ThompsonSwami Vivekananda, Francis Younghusband.


J. Coatman, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs) 21, 1945, p. 422 (A Short History of India

Far Eastern Survey 18, 1949, p. 215

Kisch, Cecil, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs) 25, 1949, p. 235 (The New India)

Vera Anstey, The Economic Journal 59, 1949, pp. 107-8 (The New India)

Holden Furber, Pacific Affairs 23, 1950, pp. 108-9 (The New India

Haward, Edwin, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs) 29, 1953, p. 528 (A Short History of India)

Lewis, B. Clingman, The Catholic Historical Review 44, 1958, pp. 347-9 (A Short History of India)

Secondary works: 

'The Banquet for Ranjit Sinjhi', Indian Mirror, 16 December 1896

Burke, J., A General [later edns A Genealogical] and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the United Kingdom [later edns The British Empire] [1829-] (1939)

Drake, J. C. B., 'Chatterjee, Sir Atul Chandra (1874–1955)', rev. K. D. Reynolds, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/32382]

Editorial, 'The Mazlis in Cambridge', in Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, 1893-1902: Extracts from Twenty-Two Newspapers and Periodicals, ed. by Sankari Prasad Basy and Sunil Bihari Ghosh (Calcutta: Basu Bhattacharyya & Co., 1969), pp. 310-1.

Kaiwar, Vasant and Mazumdar, Sucheta, Antinomies of Modernity: Essays on Race, Orient, Nation (Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press, 2003)

Sharma, Ram Avtar and Chandra, Ankush, Makers of Indian History, 2 vols (New Delhi: Shree, 2005)

The Times (9 September 1955)

Venn, J. and Venn, J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates, and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900, 2 pts in 10 vols (1922-54); reprinted in 2 vols (1974-8)

Who Was Who (1920-)

Withers, John J., A Register of Admissions to King's College Cambridge 1797-1925, 2nd edn (John Murray, 1929)

Archive source: 

OB/1/332/C, 1896-1909, Atul Chandra Chatterjee - Oscar Browning correspondence, King's College Library, University of Cambridge

MSS EUR F 147/84, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Sir Atul Chandra Chatterjee


24 Motcombe Court
Bexhill, TN39 4DL
United Kingdom
50° 50' 22.3728" N, 0° 27' 16.1028" E
Date of death: 
08 Sep 1955
Location of death: 
24 Motcombe Court, Bexhill, Sussex
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1893
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1893-7, 1924-55

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