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The Imperial Institute Bill

Nature volume 114, pages 13 (05 July 1924) | Download Citation



A GOVERNMENT Bill to effect the reorganisation of the Imperial Institute has been introduced into the House of Lords by Lord Arnold and there passed its second reading. This Bill will be welcomed, as it should help the development of that Institute to a position worthy of the group of museums and scientific institutions at South Kens-ington. The Colonial Office Committee of Enquiry into the Imperial Institute in 1923 recommended the abolition of its galleries, the limitation of the work of its laboratories to preliminary investigations of raw materials, and the reduction of the Institute to a clerical bureau. This scheme was approved by the Imperial Economic Conference, some members of which were unacquainted with the facts, as one of them has since stated. If the majority report of the Colonial Office Committee had been promptly carried into effect, the Imperial Institute collections would have been scattered and the galleries occupied by a War Museum, which, however desirable, would have been out of place in South Kensington on a site allotted to the development of the industrial arts and science by the Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851. The majority report of the Committee was opposed by a strong minority, and has.since been widely condemned. The Bill, in agreement with the minority report, is based on the retention of the Imperial Institute galleries and the amalgamation of the Mineral Resources Bureau with the Mineral Department of the Institute. The Bill proposes the transfer of the management of the Institute from the Colonial Office to the Department of Overseas Trade, which is a branch of the Board of Trade, and the establishment of a new Board of Governors consisting of representatives of the Dominion of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Irish Free State, Newfoundland, and India, and representatives of the Treasury, the Board of Trade, the Colonial Office, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Department of Overseas Trade, and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and not more than ten scientific and commercial representatives, including one from the Royal Society and not less than three Governors of the Mineral Resources Bureau.

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