Secretary of State for India

The seat of the chairman of the court of directors of the East India Company, and subsequently that of the Secretary of State for India
John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn, Secretary of State for India from 1905 to 1910 and again briefly, as acting Secretary, in 1911

The Secretary of State for India, or India Secretary, was the British Cabinet minister and the political head of the India Office responsible for the governance of Aden, British India and Burma. The post was created in 1858 when the East India Company's rule in Bengal ended and British India was brought under the direct administration of the government in London, beginning the official colonial period under the British Empire.

In 1937, the India Office was reorganised which separated Burma and Aden under a new Burma Office, but the same Secretary of State headed both Departments and a new title was established as the Secretary of State for India and Burma. The India Office and its Secretary of State were abolished in August 1947, when the United Kingdom granted independence to British India resulting in the creation of two new independent dominions, the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. Myanmar (Burma) soon achieved independence separately in early 1948.

Secretaries of State for India, 1858–1937

Prior to the establishment of the British Empire on 2 August 1858, Lord Stanley had served as President of the Board of Control.

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Lord Stanley
(subsequently 15th Earl of Derby)
2 August 1858 11 June 1859 Conservative The 14th Earl of Derby
Sir Charles Wood, Bt 18 June 1859 16 February 1866[1] Liberal Viscount Palmerston

The Earl Russell

The Earl de Grey 16 February 1866 26 June 1866 Liberal
Viscount Cranborne
(subsequently Marquess of Salisbury)
6 July 1866 8 March 1867 Conservative

The 14th Earl of Derby

Benjamin Disraeli

Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt
(subsequently Earl of Iddesleigh)
8 March 1867 1 December 1868 Conservative
The Duke of Argyll 9 December 1868 17 February 1874 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
The Marquess of Salisbury 21 February 1874 2 April 1878 Conservative Benjamin Disraeli
The Viscount Cranbrook 2 April 1878 21 April 1880 Conservative
Marquess of Hartington 28 April 1880 16 December 1882 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
The Earl of Kimberley 16 December 1882 9 June 1885 Liberal
Lord Randolph Churchill 24 June 1885 28 January 1886 Conservative The Marquess of Salisbury
The Earl of Kimberley 6 February 1886 20 July 1886 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Sir R. A. Cross
(Viscount Cross from 19 August 1886)
3 August 1886 11 August 1892 Conservative The Marquess of Salisbury
The Earl of Kimberley 18 August 1892 10 March 1894 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Henry Fowler 10 March 1894 21 June 1895 Liberal The Earl of Rosebery
Lord George Hamilton 4 July 1895 9 October 1903[2] Conservative The Marquess of Salisbury
(Unionist Coalition)

Arthur Balfour
(Unionist Coalition)

St John Brodrick 9 October 1903 4 December 1905 Conservative
John Morley
(Viscount Morley of Blackburn from 1908)
10 December 1905 3 November 1910 Liberal Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
H. H. Asquith
The Earl of Crewe 3 November 1910 7 March 1911 Liberal
The Viscount Morley of Blackburn 7 March 1911 25 May 1911 Liberal
The Earl of Crewe
(Marquess of Crewe from July 1911)
25 May 1911 25 May 1915 Liberal
Austen Chamberlain 25 May 1915 17 July 1917[3] Conservative H. H. Asquith

David Lloyd George

Edwin Samuel Montagu 17 July 1917 19 March 1922 Liberal
The Viscount Peel 19 March 1922 22 January 1924 Conservative Bonar Law

Stanley Baldwin

The Lord Olivier 22 January 1924 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
The Earl of Birkenhead 6 November 1924 18 October 1928 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
The Viscount Peel 18 October 1928 4 June 1929 Conservative
William Wedgwood Benn 7 June 1929 24 August 1931 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Sir Samuel Hoare 25 August 1931 7 June 1935 Conservative Ramsay MacDonald
(1st & 2nd National Min.)
The Marquess of Zetland 7 June 1935 28 May 1937 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
(3rd National Min.)

Secretaries of State for India and Burma, 1937–1947

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
The Marquess of Zetland 28 May 1937 13 May 1940 Conservative Neville Chamberlain
(4th National Min.;
War Coalition)
Leo Amery 13 May 1940 26 July 1945 Conservative Winston Churchill
(War Coalition; Caretaker Min.)
The Lord Pethick-Lawrence 3 August 1945 17 April 1947 Labour Clement Attlee
The Earl of Listowel 17 April 1947 14 August 1947 Labour

Secretaries of State for Burma, 1947–1948

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
The Earl of Listowel 14 August 1947 4 January 1948 Labour Clement Attlee

See also


  1. Resigned after being injured in a hunting accident.
  2. Resigned.
  3. Resigned.

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