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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 4

The Pall Mall Gazette, 10th June 1876

page 8

The Pall Mall Gazette, 10th June 1876.

A project is on foot for the establishment of an "Imperial Museum for the Colonies and India." The Royal Colonial Institute and the Royal Asiatic Society have appointed a joint committee for the promotion of the scheme, of which the details are as follows:—"The erection, side by side, on the old Fife House site on the Thames Embankment, of two independent museums—one for the colonies and one for India—the Colonial Museum to consist of sections representing separately the principal colonies, provision being made at the same time for the India Library, and for the establishment of a special Colonial Library and Reading-room; the buildings likewise to contain the rooms of the Royal Asiatic Society and of the Royal Colonial Institute. It is further proposed .to concentrate the business of the colonies in the same building by placing in it the offices of the Crown agents and of the agents general for the colonies." The fitness of the proposed site for such a museum—placed as it would thus be in the immediate vicinity of Charing Cross, of the Houses of Parliament, and of the India and Colonial Offices, as also within easy reach of the business quarters of London—is manifest; and equally so is its superiority to South Kensington, a spot too far removed from the centres of political and business life to allow the India and Colonial Museums, if placed there, to be readily consulted by the classes directly interested in their accessibility. It is, moreover, considered unlikely that the colonies would support any proposal for placing their museum at South Kensington, while they would, it is believed, respond heartily to the project if the Embankment site is obtained. To acquire this site an appeal is to be made to the City and to the chief commercial centres throughout the country, leaving it to the colonies and India to provide and maintain the necessary buildings. In view of the fact that at the present moment about one third of the whole trade of England is dependent upon India and the colonies, and that during the commercial depression of the last few years the trade of England, with her own possessions, has stood its ground far better than her trade with foreign countries, such an appeal should have a good chance of success. The proposed museum could not fail to have an important influence in promoting trade and intercourse generally between this country and her colonial possessions, and the project as a whole strikes us as worthy of hearty support.