Andrews, Charles Freer

Reference code(s): GB 0059 Mss Eur D1113
Held at: British Library, Asia Pacific and Africa Collections, India Office Private Papers
Domain: archival
Title: Andrews, Charles Freer
Date(s) of contents: 1912-1940
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 4 volumes


Name of creator(s): Andrews, Charles Freer (1871-1940)

Administrative/Biographical history: Born in 1871, Charles Freer Andrews was educated at the King Edward VI School in Birmingham, and Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he took first class honours in the Classical Tripos. He became Head of the Pembroke College Mission in South London in 1896, and was ordained deacon. In the following year he was ordained priest in Southwark Cathedral. In 1899 he left the Mission for a Fellowship of Pembroke College itself and in 1900 became Vice-Principal of Westcott House Theological College in Cambridge. In 1904 he joined the Cambridge Brotherhood in Delhi and began to teach at St Stephen's College, Delhi. In 1906 a letter from Andrews sympathetic to the Indian nationalists was published in the Civil and Military Gazette, Lahore. This quickly led to a friendship between him and Lala Lajpat Rai and other Indian nationalists, and in December of the same year, he attended the session of the Indian National Congress at Calcutta. For the rest of his life Andrews sought to explain the nationalist viewpoint to the British people, and on occasion acted as an intermediary between the nationalists and the British authorities, particularly during the viceroyalty (1910-16) of Lord Hardinge who was personally friendly to Andrews. In 1913 he offered himself to the moderate Congress leader G K Gokhale for work in South Africa where he arrived at the beginning of 1914. He met Gandhi, with whom he began a lifelong friendship, and participated in the struggle on behalf of the Indian community in South Africa. He returned to India in April 1914, but thereafter Andrews was to revisit South Africa several times and to travel widely elsewhere seeking to improve the lot of Indian communities overseas, and to urge the abolition of the system of indentured labour. In 1912 Andrews had met Rabindranath Tagore in London, and from 1914, having resigned his University appointments, he made his home at Tagore's ashram at Santiniketan. But he remained constantly on the move in support of his various causes. In 1914 he had sought to resign his priesthood but his resignation was not accepted, and in his later years Andrews’ commitment to his Christian faith revived. In 1935, for example, he agreed to deliver lectures in Cambridge on 'Christ and Prayer', in the following year he again accepted the Christian ministry with the Cambridge brotherhood in Delhi, and in 1939 he laid the foundation stone of the new St Stephen's College building in Delhi. In summary, Andrews' Christian educational mission to India developed into a mission to support the Indian independence movement, and to interpret and to reconcile Indians and British to each other. In addition, he worked and travelled ceaselessly to bring aid and comfort to economically and socially oppressed Indians everywhere whether in India or overseas.

Custodial history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Scope and content/abstract: Originals and copies of correspondence and papers of or relating to Rev Charles Freer Andrews (1871-1940), reflecting both his religious and political activities.

System of arrangement: 10 files bound into 4 volumes


Language: English

Conditions governing access: Unrestricted

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids: None


Related material: A collection of C.F. Andrews papers is held at the National Archives of India, New Delhi.

Publication note: One of the sources used by H R Tinker in 'The Ordeal of Love: C. F. Andrews and India' (OUP 1979)


Date(s) of descriptions: 23 August 2002


Personal names
Andrews | Charles Freer | 1871-1940 | Anglican missionary and political campaigner

Corporate names

South Asia