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British Empire and Commonwealth Collection

In 2012, the collections of the former British Empire and Commonwealth Museum (BECM) were transferred to the care of Bristol Museums.

Here you’ll find blog posts, events and stories related to this major collection, which covers a wide range of material relating to the countries of the British Empire and the Commonwealth. Find out more about the collection.


Penelope Chetwode and ‘the perfect ADC’ (personal assistant)

by Pat Ellingham, Archives volunteer

Our volunteer, Pat Ellingham, found this story of the young Penelope Chetwode (later Lady Betjeman) in the photograph albums of Geoffrey Kellie, part of the British Empire & Commonwealth Collection.

There’s a…


Digitising the British Empire & Commonwealth film collection

by Jayne Pucknell, Archivist

The digitising of some of our most important or unusual films from the British Empire and Commonwealth film collection started in July 2019, and will run to autumn 2020.

We have around 2,000 films in the British Emp…


Victor Veevers: Poster designer for the Indian Railways, 1930s

by Pat Ellingham, Archives volunteer

I’ve been travelling to India for over 20 years and love the culture and landscape of this astonishing country.

It’s one of the reasons why my role as a volunteer on the British Empire & Commonweal…


Nairobi: The Building Shared Futures project

by Nicky Sugar, archivist of the British Empire and Commonwealth Collection

Last year we reported on a research trip to Kenya by Dr Liz Haines and Dr Neil Carrier of the University of Bristol. They made contact with academics and curators in Nairobi t…


What could Bristol have to tell me about Kenya?

By Dr Lydia Muthuma, Technical University of Kenya, Nairobi

Lydia Muthuma is one of the Building Shared Futures project team, funded by the University of Bristol to bring together British and Kenyan colleagues with an interest in material relating to …


Documenting the British Empire and Commonwealth Collection

by Frances Davies, Documentation Assistant

There’s always plenty of behind-the-scenes work happening at the museum. Collections staff are often to be found busy beavering away in stores ensuring our objects are correctly documented and cared for.