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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 12

I. To the Right Hon. Benjamin Disraeli, First Lord of Her Majesty's Treasury

I. To the Right Hon. Benjamin Disraeli, First Lord of Her Majesty's Treasury.

We, the undersigned, on behalf of the members of the Workmen's Clubs and Institutes in the Metropolis, beg very respectfully to express our hope that the proposal now before the public for the establishment of an India and Colonial Museum on the Thames Embankment will receive the favourable consideration of Her Majesty's Government.

As artisans desirous of improving our artistic taste and industrial knowledge, we consider it highly desirable that we should have free and ready access to the admirable specimens of Indian workmanship to be found in the India Museum. The natural products and manufactures of that collection throw great light upon handicrafts in which we are engaged, and are calculated to promote our technical knowledge.

We should hail likewise with much satisfaction the formation of the proposed Colonial Museum, which could not be otherwise than helpful to us, as so many of the trades in page 14 which we are interested depend upon the supply of the materials which a properly organized Museum would be calculated to bring into notice.

The members of the Clubs and Institutes in the Metropolis have been in the habit of visiting the national museums on Saturday afternoons, under the guidance of gentlemen specially qualified to afford information on their contents. This has called attention to the fact that the situation of museums and collections is all important in its bearing upon our ability to derive advantage from such visits.

For some years past we have in common with all other members of the working classes in London, observed with regret that many valuable collections are to an increasing extent removed to South Kensington. That quarter being at the extreme end of the Metropolis, and at the end furthest removed from the districts inhabited by workmen, great numbers of our class are altogether precluded from visiting the collections there, or at least very rarely and hastily. The very considerable distance not only adds to the expense, but often consumes half the limited time at disposal, to say nothing of the fatigue involved in a walk of several miles, which necessarily unfits the visitor for a careful study of the objects exhibited.

Your Memorialists have therefore learned with the greatest satisfaction that there is a site, the property of the Crown, close to Charing Cross, and situated on the Victoria Embankment, where the present Indian Collection and the proposed Colonial Collection might be placed and arranged in suitable buildings.

Your Memorialists very earnestly trust that Her Majesty's Government will take such steps as may be necessary to secure the site in question for these Museums.

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They would only add that great numbers of their class also seek for information in regard to the production of the colonies with a view to emigration; and that the establishment of a Colonial Museum on an accessible site would to such persons prove a boon. On all these grounds, your Memorialists trust very sincerely that these valuable means of instruction and information may be placed where the great mass of the London population can have access to them, instead of being placed where comparatively few of the working class can habitually resort.

Signed by the Chairmen and Secretaries of 68 of the Working Men's Clubs and Institutes of London representing about 7,000 members. London August, 1876.