HC Deb 25 June 1928 vol 219 cc44-5W

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he is aware that the Imperial Institute is still too little known among the public; and whether, in view of its value as an Empire advertising factor, he will consider launching a publicity campaign to remedy this state of affairs?


It would certainly be of great advantage to Empire development and to the education of the public at home in knowledge of the Empire if the Imperial Institute were better known. The funds at the disposal of the institute are, however, so limited that it is difficult even to find staff sufficient to cope with the work which has steadily increased since the reorganisation in accordance with the Imperial Institute Act of 1925. The institute has the benefit of the assistance of an advisory council for plant and animal products and another for mineral resources. These councils are assisted by 24 technical committees; they consist of representatives from Government Departments, scientific bodies and trade associations and are doing important work in connection with the utilisation of Empire raw materials. As an illustration of the increased use now made of the institute it may be mentioned that the number of inquiries relating to mineral matters, not requiring laboratory investigation, made in the first five months of the present year shows an increase of over 50 per cent. above the corresponding period in 1926, whilst the number of laboratory investigations has increased by 200 per cent. Further, the average weekly attendance at the institute's exhibition galleries has risen from 2,537 in 1926 to 8,271 in 1928—an increase of 226 per cent.

The Imperial Institute has no funds to undertake direct advertising, but everything possible is done in other directions to bring the facilities offered by it to the notice of the public. Speakers lecturing up and down the country on the work and purpose of the Empire Marketing Board have been asked to make reference to the Imperial Institute as a most valuable centre of education in the scenery and products of the various parts of the Empire. Notices concerning the educational facilities of the exhibition galleries and the cinema frequently appear in the educational and general Press. The Press have also been extremely helpful in issuing notices concerning the possibilities of development of raw materials from the Empire which have been investigated by the Imperial Institute, e.g., the comparative tests of Manilla hemp and Empire sisal. All senior schools under control of education authorities in and near London are circularised once a month with a cinema programme and about once a year concerning the general educational facilities offered.