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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 4

The Colonies, 10th June 1876

The Colonies, 10th June 1876.

Such is the title of a pamphlet which has just reached us upon a very important project with which we thoroughly sympathise. The primary object advocated is the obtaining, on the Thames Embankment close to Charing Cross, of what is certainly the very best site in the whole metropolis for the establishment of a museum which shall be worthy of the whole British empire, and most easily accessible to all classes of the resident population of London, as well as visitors and sight seers who may be temporarily sojourning in this Imperial metropolis. Dr. Forbes Watson, not only by argument, but also by plan, conclusively shows that the proposed site, from its central situation, from its being easily reached by omnibus, metropolitan railways, penny river steamers, as well as on foot, is infinitely superior to South Kensington, which is so far out of the way of the great majority of people whom it is desirable to instruct by means of a great museum of the empire. An edifice on the site proposed would not only be of great value for the purpose of diffusing knowledge respecting the colonies and India, but would, in such a commanding position, where it would be visible far and near, be a monument or trophy of British success in establishing a great empire. Dr. Watson's details are doubtless open to modification, but are in the main well carried out. He wants the Home Government to give the site, and those of the colonies and India to supply the money for building and keeping up the museum, the larger portion of which would belong to the colonies, whilst they and India would be distinct, and have separate control over their respective portions of the great institution. The site contains some two acres of land at the corner of the Thames Embankment and the new street, Northumberland Avenue, running down from Charing Cross, and within a few yards of the latter most central position in the metropolis. On the outside of the pamphlet is a clever sketch of a globe so turned as to bring within view the whole of the British empire, which is distinguished by being marked in red. A note, which would have been page 20 unnecessary but for the controversy about the title of "Empress," states that, in the proposed name of the museum, the term "Imperial" is "used in the sense in which we speak of the 'Imperial Parliament' and the' British empire.'"