Commonwealth Institute

Commonwealth Institute The Commonwealth Institute was established, as the Imperial Institute, by royal charter from Queen Victoria in 1888. Its name was changed to the Commonwealth Institute in 1958.

By statute, the operations were the responsibility of a Minister of State from 1902 to 2003 and the property occupied for the purposes of the Institute, and of the same name, was held separately by Trustees as a charity asset. In 1999, prior to the end of the statutory regime, arrangements were made for both the property and the operations to be transferred to a company limited by guarantee also called the Commonwealth Institute. The members were the representatives to the United Kingdom of all countries of the Commonwealth, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on behalf of Her Majesty's Government (HMG), the Commonwealth Secretary-General, and four independent UK citizens.The organisation in corporate form proved not to be viable and in 2002 the members resolved to close the operations and sell the property which was too costly for the charity to maintain. Following this it was put into liquidation and the net proceeds were vested by the members of the company in a successor registered charity, The Commonwealth Education Trust which is now based at New Zealand House in Central London. The name is no longer associated with the property in Kensington, which has become the new home of the Design Museum in an £80 million redevelopment, opened in late 2016.The Imperial InstituteThe Imperial Institute was established in 1888 to hold and apply the property and assets arising from the contributions given almost exclusively by private citizens from across the Empire in a nationwide collection conceived by the then Prince of Wales in 1886 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. No funding was given by Her Majesty's Government (HMG). It had defined purposes which had a primary emphasis on the exhibition of collections to showcase the various countries' industrial and commercial products and development; and included industrial intelligence gathering and dissemination; the promotion of technical and commercial education; and the furtherance of colonization.

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