East India Association

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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