South Kensington Museum

Scope and Content

Material concerned with the Indian Collection at the South Kensington Museum. These are:

  • Letter to the Under Secretary of State for India regarding provision of care for the Indian Collection and that it be kept as a unit. Printed, unsigned and undated.
  • Letter from Lord Reay, President, Royal Asiatic Society, to the Secretary of State for India to express, on behalf of the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society, their concern regarding the Indian collection at the South Kensington Museum. The collection originated in 1879 when miscellaneous collections from the old East India House were transferred to the Museum. The request is for funds to adaquately care for the collections. Typed, dated 12 May 1911. There is also an earlier draft version of this letter, typed with handwritten annotations and labelled, "Sir M. A. Stein's original draft".
  • Letter from R. Ritchie, India Office, to Lord Reay, President, Royal Asiatic Society, to advise that when the Collections were transferred one of the stipulations was that no charge should henceforth fall on the revenues of India, and therefore responsibility rest with the Victoria and Albert Museum to provide suitable staff and care. Typed, dated 24 June 1911.
  • Newspaper article from The Morning Post entitled "Mr Runciman and an Indian Museum", concerning the care of the Indian Collection. Printed, dated 19 July 1911.
  • "List of contacts of various organisations concerned with the Indian Collections and a list of Members of the Royal Asiatic Society Council. Handwritten, undated.
  • "The Indian Collection at South Kensington: Deputation to the President of the Board of Education" concerning the Indian Collection. Typed report of the deputation received on 12 December 1912.
  • Letter from J.H. Headley to Miss Hughes, Secretary, Royal Asiatic Society, expressing his opinion on the two leading Indian papers on the Museum. Handwritten, dated 20 January 1913.

Administrative / Biographical History

The South Kensington Museum was established in 1852, initially based at Marlborough House on the Mall in London and it was only in 1857 that it opened on its current site and was named the South Kensington Museum. It was re-named as the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1899.

The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland was founded by the eminent Sanskrit scholar Sir Henry Thomas Colebrooke on the 15th March 1823. It received its Royal Charter from King George IV on the 11th August 1824 'for the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia'. It continues as a forum for those who are interested in the languages, cultures and history of Asia to meet and exchange ideas.

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist using the email address given here. The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID.

Acquisition Information

The material is part of the institutional records of the Society from its dealings with other organisations.

Archivist's Note

This material was catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2019.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Custodial History

These papers were sent and received by the Royal Asiatic Society in the course of its business.

Geographical Names