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Royal Commonwealth Society

The Royal Commonwealth Society Library truly takes the world as its oyster" John M. MacKenzie
Royal Commonwealth Society

The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Library collections are a treasure-trove of resources, pictorial and written, for those researching the Commonwealth and Britain's former colonial territories.  They include over 300,000 printed items, about 900 archival collections (manuscript diaries, correspondence, pictures, cine films, scrapbooks and newspaper cuttings) and over 125,000 photographs. Collections are being added to Cambridge Digital Library on a regular basis, including many fragile glass slides, due to the generosity of Mr Cliff Webb, the Anstruther Literary Trust for Rare Books, the Smuts Memorial Fund and the family of Michael Fuller.

Asian collections include:

  • Painted panoramas of Bombay (Mumbai) c1837 and Simla in the 1860s
  • 19th century mica miniature paintings from Tamil Nadu
  • Drawings of mosaic decorations at Lahore Fort and Mehrauli in the 1880s
  • Photographs of French Indo-China, China, Malaya, Siam, Korea and Japan c1890
  • Photographic panoramas of Hong Kong, Canton (Guangzhou) and Macau, 1900-1930
  • Photographs of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) mid-19th century-1907, and Singapore 1880s-1940s

African collections include:

  • Over 1000 photographs of the Gold Coast and Ghana (1900-1970), digitised in memory of Michael Fuller and generously funded by Paul, Hadiza and Susan Fuller, and Dr Adamu
  • Photographs of the British Cameroons (Nigeria and Cameroon) 1937-1942 and Lourenço Marques (Maputo, Mozambique) and surrounding districts 1895-1908
  • Water-colours and drawings in Southern Africa 1860-1890

Australasian/Oceania collections include:

  • Photographs of New Guinea c1884, and Australia and New Zealand 1888-1889
  • Photographic panorama of Dunedin (19th century)

North American collections include:

  • Photographs of Newfoundland 1899-1912

Caribbean collections include:

  • Photographs of Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Guyana; Barbados, Dominica, Saint Vincent, Antigua, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Nevis, Saint Thomas and Martinique in the 1880s


Digital imaging generously supported by Mr Cliff Webb,  the Anstruther Literary Trust for Rare Books, library grants from the Smuts Memorial Fund, and from Paul, Hadiza and Susan Fuller and Dr Adamu in memory of Michael Fuller.