Undercurrents: 100 Years of Chatham House

Undercurrents marks the Chatham House centenary with an episode on the history of the institute.

Audio Updated 5 October 2020 Published 9 July 2020 50 minute listen

Agnes Frimston

Deputy Editor, The World Today

The meeting that called into being the British Institute of International Affairs was held on July 5, 1920 at the Royal Society of Arts on the Strand. The institute, as noted by Arthur Balfour, UK foreign secretary until the previous year, would cultivate ‘mutual comprehension between different nations and between the leaders of thought in different communities’. 

100 years later, Chatham House remains a centre for debate and exchange on the major issues shaping international affairs. Undercurrents is marking the Chatham House centenary with an episode on the history of the institute. You’ll hear from librarian Malcolm Madden about the origins of Chatham House, and then a selection of current Chatham House staff tell us about the events and speakers they have most enjoyed during their time at the institute. 

Our thanks to colleagues Zara Berry, Yusuf Hassan, Kamil Hussain, Glada Lahn, Jo Maher, Esther Naylor, James Nixey and Alan Philps for sharing their anecdotes. 

Chatham House Centenary 2020 Stamp






Chatham House Centenary:
Throughout our centenary year in 2020, Chatham House marks a century of influence, independent analysis and trusted dialogue with a number of exciting initiatives. Throughout the year, we explore key political moments from the institute’s history and reflect on how Chatham House and other think-tanks should approach the future.