HC Deb 18 March 1875 vol 223 cc23-4

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, What steps have been taken to establish an Indian Museum in London; whether the arrangements which have been adopted, or are contemplated, will throw any charge on the revenues of India; and, whether, if there have been any Minutes on the subject by Members of the Council of the Secretary of State, he has any objection to lay these Minutes on the Table of the House?


Sir, an Indian Museum has existed in London for 75 years, having been established by the East India Company in 1800. It has been enriched by the collections of many Orientalists, and was removed from the East India House to Fife House, and thence to an upper floor of the India Office. The space there allotted to it was, however, insufficient to display the articles, and, the room being urgently required for other purposes, it was in 1874 determined to remove the Museum for three years to South Kensington, rather than incur the expense of erecting a new building. The Department of the Reporter on Indian Products, who is also Director of the Museum, having also been found quite inadequate to meet the constant demands for information made by the Government of India, it was determined at the same time to increase the strength of the establishment under him. This, however, is only a temporary arrangement for three years. The expenditure thus incurred will throw an additional charge upon the revenues of India; but the cessation of annual exhibitions, in which India has borne a part, affords a saving more than equivalent. The present arrangement is temporary. As soon as any permanent decision is arrived at, I shall be very glad to give my hon. Friend any Papers or Minutes written by Members of Council; but I do not think at present it would, be advisable, pending such decision, to lay Papers upon the Table of the House necessarily inadequate and incomplete.