Imperial institute: sets of photographic cards and leaflets about products and industry of the British Empire

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

MS 61 add.1/1 8 leaflets of the series 'Imperial Institute, Stories of Empire Products' with pictorial charts including:

3. Ceylon coconuts in everyday life

4. Trinidad Lake asphalt for roads, roofs and insulation

7. Malayan rubber - from trees to tyres, toys and telephones

8. East African sisal - from leaf to sheaf

9. Ceylon tea - from leaf cell to tea cup

10. British Guiana rice, the sugar-growers' daily bread

11. Kenya coffee, the bean that cheers, 2 copies

12. Nigerian hides and skins for gloves and shoes

MS 61 add. 1/2 7 Set of photographic cards by the 'Imperial Institute illustrating products of the empire and one loose photographic card:

Each set includes six photographic cards, a descriptive leaflet with a map

3. The Ceylon tea industry, set of six photographic cards, with descriptive leaflet and map

7. The Ceylon Coconut Industry, set of six photographic cards, with descriptive leaflet and map

12. The groundnut industry, British West Africa [Nigeria and Gambia], set of six photographic cards, with descriptive leaflet and map

13. The Jamaica banana industry, set of six picture cards, with descriptive leaflet and map

14. The wool industry of Australia, set of six photographic cards, with descriptive leaflet and map

15. The butter industry in New Zealand, set of six photographic cards, with descriptive leaflet and map

The Canadian Wheat Industry, series 2, Distribution, set of six photographic cards, with descriptive leaflet and map

Loose photographic card about transporting cocoa

Administrative / Biographical History

The Imperial Institute was founded in 1887 'as a monument to the emerging imperial sentiment'. It acted partly as an educational instrument, with extensive gallery spaces promoting the Commonwealth, but was also an important research base for the Empire, exploring the potential for industrial commercial operations in the Dominions and Colonies. The Institute was sited in a building in South Kensington, London, and was purpose-designed by Thomas Colcutt (1840-1924) in a similar style to the other major museums of the area. One wing of the Institute was sold to London University in 1899. The administration of the Institute changed frequently throughout its history, coming under the remit of the Board of Trade in 1903 (following the 1902 Imperial Institute (Transfer) Act), the Department of Overseas Trade in 1925 and the Ministry of Education in 1949.

The building of the Institute was destroyed between 1957 and 1965, after the closure of the Institute in the mid 1950s. The rear galleries were demolished in 1957, the east galleries in 1962 and the west wing in 1965. The only remaining part of the original structure is the Colcutt Tower (now the Queen's Tower), which was saved from demolition and became free-standing in 1968. This now forms part of the site of Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, which was expanded on a large scale during the 1950s. Following the Commonwealth Institute Act in 1958, the Commonwealth Institute was established to continue the work of the Imperial Institute, with the new building opened on a new site on Kensington High Street in November 1962. Since the closure of the exhibition galleries in the late 1990s, many of the Institute's artefacts have been transferred to the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, Bristol.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL conditions apply.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by A Mandrioli, 2015.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.