NEHRU, Jawaharlal (1889-1964)
Plaque erected in 1989 by English Heritage at 60 Elgin Crescent, Notting Hill, London, W11 2JJ, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Overseas Visitors, Politics and Administration
JAWAHARLAL NEHRU 1889-1964 First Prime Minister of India lived here in 1910 and 1912
The first prime minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, is commemorated with a blue plaque at 60 Elgin Crescent, where he lived in 1910–11 and 1912.
Nehru, who came from a wealthy background, was educated at Harrow and Cambridge before going on to study law at the Inner Temple. Nehru lived what he later described as ‘a soft and pointless existence’ during his time at London’s Inns of Court, developing expensive tastes and playing cards for money. A typical evening included a trip to the theatre followed by a champagne supper at the Savoy.
‘Joe’ Nehru – as his Harrovian friends addressed him – lived in Elgin Crescent from July 1910 to January 1911, and returned here when he was called to the bar in the summer of 1912.
Nehru retuned to India in 1912 and joined Gandhi’s campaign of civil disobedience in 1919, which protested against British rule in India. He became a leading figure of the Indian National Congress, and declared himself a republican and a socialist while presiding over its annual session in 1929.
Like Gandhi and Sardar Patel, Nehru was frequently imprisoned by the British in the 1920s and 1930s, but by the end of the Second World War he was playing a key role in the negotiations for independence. He opposed partition – the division of India and the establishment of a separate state of Pakistan – which was advocated by Mohammed Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League, but this was seen by Lord Mountbatten as the quickest way to achieve independence, and Nehru reluctantly agreed to it.
In 1947 Nehru became independent India’s first prime minister, and held this office until his death on 27 May 1964. He was cremated the next morning on the banks of the Jumna River in Delhi.