British Library, Asia Pacific and Africa Collections, India Office Private Papers

Repository code: GB 0059
Address: British Library, 96 Euston Road, London
Postcode: NW1 2DB
Telephone: 020 7412 7873
Fax: 020 7412 7641
Enquiries: India Office Private Papers Curator
Strengths: The British Library’s Asia Pacific and Africa Collections include about 300 collections and over 3,000 smaller deposits, known as the India Office Private Papers, relating primarily to India, but also with some material on surrounding countries, and covering the period 1600-1950s. The British Library’s Manuscripts Department contains several large collections and very many small deposits of similar material.

The Private Papers are mostly papers left by British men and women, and therefore illustrate chiefly the activities of the British in India, as Government officials, soldiers, scholars, teachers, doctors, businessmen, railway engineers, planters, travellers, explorers, and not least missionaries. There are a few collections formed by Indians; but the indigenous peoples are seen mainly through British eyes.

Subjects covered by the Private Papers include political, administrative and military history; social life and leisure activities; study of oriental history, languages and civilisation; travel and geographical exploration both within India and beyond its borders; and race relations. As regards missionary activity, the collections are strongest for the period c1900-1960, but there is also material of earlier and later date.

The British Library’s Oriental and India Office Collections also include the official archives of the East India Company and the India Office, known as the India Office Records, and a large collection of western language printed books. Both of these sources cover every aspect of Indo-British relations and the history of India during the British period including missionary activity.

Mundus collections: 12
Access conditions: Reader's ticket required. Wheelchair access.
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 09.30-17.00.