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The Royal Commonwealth Society collections include over 2213 metres of official, and other related, publications in both serial and monograph format.  These publications date mostly from the mid 19th century to the end of British involvement, but sometimes beyond.  Included amongst them are many rare and internationally significant reports. 

Between October 2006 and September 2009, online catalogue records were produced for over 30,500 items in this collection - the focus being on official, and in some cases commercial, reports published locally within the colonies. The condition of the collection was also greatly improved as each report was carefully cleaned and re-boxed. The project concentrated on:

  • Large sets within the collection, such as the Colonial Blue Books, Directories and Yearbooks, and Staff and Civil Lists
  • The complete holdings of material published locally within Malaysia, Hong Kong, the West Indies and parts of Africa

Malaysia, Hong Kong and Africa were chosen as points of focus not only because they are studied within the University but also because high quality catalogue records for material published in these regions are sparse.  This is in contrast to material on India where such records are being produced elsewhere. The focus on the West Indies was driven by demand from Caribbean governments and researchers.

Should future funding become available, it is planned to complete RCS holdings for Africa (i.e.official publications from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and South African constituent states such as Orange River State and Cape Province), many of which require extensive conservation work.

It is hoped the project will contribute significantly to international historical understanding of Britain’s former colonies and the early workings of the Commonwealth. 

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1st Colonial Conference, London, 1887

Parliament at Hongo- Florida

Appt. of 1st African President of Gold Coast, 1949

Treasury, Brisbane (adorned for Royal Visit, 1901)

Court House & Govt. Offices, Saint John's Newfoundland



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