Charles Arden-Clarke

Sir Charles Noble Arden-Clarke GCMG GCStJ[3] (25 July 1898 – 16 December 1962) was a British colonial administrator.

Sir Charles Noble Arden-Clarke
The National Archives UK - CO 1069-43-9 - crop.jpg
Governor-General of Ghana
In office
6 March 1957 – 24 June 1957
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterKwame Nkrumah
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byLord Listowel
Governor of the Gold Coast
In office
11 August 1949 – 6 March 1957
MonarchsGeorge VI
Elizabeth II
Prime MinisterKwame Nkrumah
(21 March 1952 – 6 March 1957)
Preceded bySir Robert Scott
Succeeded byPosition abolished
British High Commissioner to Brunei
In office
Preceded byMalcolm MacDonald
Succeeded byC.W. Dawson
Resident Commissioner of Bechuanaland
In office
Preceded byCharles Fernand Rey
Succeeded byAubrey Denzil Forsyth-Thompson
1st Governor of Sarawak
In office
1 July 1946 – 26 July 1949
MonarchGeorge VI
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byDuncan George Stewart
Personal details
Born(1898-07-25)25 July 1898[1]
Bournemouth, England
Died16 December 1962(1962-12-16) (aged 64)[2]
Syleham, England


Arden-Clarke was educated at Rossall School.[4] He was the Resident Commissioner of the Bechuanaland Protectorate (later Botswana) between 1937 and 1942, a time at which the ruling regent Tshekedi Khama was in violent conflict with the British authorities.[5] He was the Resident Commissioner of Basutoland from August 1942 to November 1946, and in 1946 was appointed as the first Governor of the newly created British Crown Colony of Sarawak, which was ceded in 1946 by the Kingdom of Sarawak. During his governorship in Sarawak he was despised by locals as, upon his appointment, Sarawak was engulfed with the Anti-cession Movement, which led to the assassination of his successor, Duncan Stewart in 1949 by the radical members of the Anti-cession movement.

On 1 May 1948, he assumed the position of High Commissioner to Brunei. Documents were neither signed nor exchanged between Arden-Clarke and Anthony Abell, only the reading of the appointment for him was made in front of Brunei dignitaries in the State Court House. He promised the people of Brunei that it was his duty and responsibility to protect the interests and welfare of Brunei and its inhabitants and to contribute to its future development and progress. He was replaced by C.W. Dawson in October 1949.[6]

After Sarawak, he was the last governor of the Gold Coast (later Ghana), from August 1949[5] until 1957, taking up residence in Fort Christiansborg.[7] On 12 February 1951, he authorised Kwame Nkrumah's release from imprisonment in James Fort. After independence, he was named the first Governor-General of Ghana in 1957. Arden-Clarke's acceptance of the Africans and his attitude towards Kwame Nkrumah likely contributed to Ghana's relatively smooth transition to independence.


  1. ^ Who's who of Southern Africa. Ken Donaldson (Pty.) Limited. 1959.
  2. ^ African Affairs. Royal African Society. 1968.
  3. ^ 1952 New Year Honours
  4. ^ "Arden-Clarke, Sir Charles Noble". Who's Who. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ a b David Birmingham (1998). Kwame Nkrumah: The Father of African Nationalism (Rev. ed.). Ohio University Press. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-0-8214-1242-8.
  6. ^ "Brunei Darussalam 1944 - 1962: Constitutional and Political Development In A Malay-Muslim Sultanate" (PDF). University of London. October 1955. pp. 66–67.
  7. ^ Hove, Jon Olav (2018). "Forts, Castles and Society in West Africa: Gold Coast and Dahomey, 1450-1960" (PDF). Brill Academic Publishers. doi:10.1163/9789004380172_011. hdl:11250/2596833. S2CID 166350383. Retrieved 21 May 2021. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)


Papers of Charles Arden-Clarke giving an insight into events during the transition of the Gold Coast to independent Ghana (1949-1957) are held by SOAS Special Collections

Government offices
Preceded by Resident Commissioner of Bechuanaland
Succeeded by
New creation Governor of Sarawak
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of the Gold Coast
Post abolished
New creation Governor-General of Ghana
Succeeded by
Notes and references