Images of Empire

Now representing the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum

Schoolchildren waving flags for the visit of the Queen Mother, Eldoret, Kenya, 14th February 1959 (b/w photo), Charles Trotter (fl.c.1950s) © British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, UK
Schoolchildren waving flags for the visit of the Queen Mother, Eldoret, Kenya, 14th February 1959 (b/w photo), Charles Trotter (fl.c.1950s) © British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, UK

 

The British Empire & Commonwealth Museum's award-winning collections are a national treasure that have recently been taken over by Bristol City Council and will be put on show at the City Museum. Built up over a period of ten years, the image collections held by the Museum mostly comprise donations from families who lived and worked in the former British colonies and subsequent Commonwealth.  Dating from circa 1860, thousands of rare photographs, relics and costumes provide a range of perspectives on the British Empire & Commonwealth. 

 

 

Trekking in Lagos, 14th September 1912 (b/w photo), English School© British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, UK
Trekking in Lagos, 14th September 1912 (b/w photo), English School © British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, UK

 

 

·         Colonial life

·         Indigenous cultures

·         Political and Royal events

·         Wars and conflicts

·         Ceremonial and sporting occasions

·         Industrial and commercial activities

·         Work, rest and play

 

Revisit Britain's Colonial Past

One of the reasons for the expansion of the Empire was to find new trading routes and luxury goods.  

Images catalogued so far from the collection include postcards celebrating the expanse of the railways and ship building. 

 

 

No. 12 Locomotive in steam at Ghana, Lagos Railway, 18th June 1909 © British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, UK
No. 12 Locomotive in steam at Ghana, Lagos Railway, 18th June 1909 © British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, UK

 

 

Game hunting, Kenya, 1907 (b/w photo) © British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, UK
Game hunting, Kenya, 1907 (b/w photo) © British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, UK

 

The Commonwealth:
Legacy of the Empire in Britain today

After the Second World War and the Indian Independence in 1949, the British Empire evolved into the ‘Commonwealth of Nations’, a phrase used to describe the new relationships between Britain and increasingly self-governing colonies.

The British Commonwealth still continues its legacy today with an association of 54 independent member states, aiming to promote peace, democracy and development.

Looking for more images? 

From posters designed by the Empire British Marketing Board to promote trade and maps detailing the expansion of the colonies, to images of slavery and oppression, Bridgeman's collections offer insight into both the conflicting and connecting cultures across the Empire.

If you are working on a project and need help sourcing a specific image, email us at sales@bridgemanart.co.uk 

 

The Queen Mother is greeted by a crowd of nuns, Baraza, Uganda, February 1959 (b/w photo), Charles Trotter, (fl.c.1950s) / © British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, UK
The Queen Mother is greeted by a crowd of nuns, Baraza, Uganda, February 1959 (b/w photo), Charles Trotter, (fl.c.1950s) / © British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, UK

 

View all images from the British Empire and Commonwealth museum currently online

Juju men in costume, Badagry, Nigeria, 1927 (b/w photo), English School© British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, UK
Juju men in costume, Badagry, Nigeria, 1927 (b/w photo), English School © British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, UK

 


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