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Empire Settlement Tour

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 353

Scope and Contents

Kelsey’s record of the tour includes two volumes of daily diaries, a photograph album, loose photographs, eight boxes of lantern slides, a map, and a file of ephemera.


  • Creation: 1928

Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Hubert Kelsey was born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, in Dec. 1905. He studied engineering at Downing College, Cambridge. After completing his degree in 1927, he embarked upon an Empire Settlement Tour in 1928. This scheme to encourage qualified young men to acquire first-hand knowledge of the Dominions and to investigate employment opportunities was promoted by Colonial Secretary L.S. Amery and arranged by the British Overseas Settlement Department. Kelsey’s party was the first to be sent out. It consisted of Commodore Richard Smailes and his son J.R. Smailes, C.H. Rex, F. Plutte and Kelsey. Under the scheme the potential emigrants paid their own expenses but at concessionary rates secured by the British Government.

They were the guests of local organisations promoting immigration such as the 1820 Memorial Settlers Association of South Africa, agricultural societies and local government representatives. Kelsey calculated that he travelled 44,238 miles during his visits to South Africa, Southern Rhodesia [Zimbabwe], Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Canada and New York. He did not emigrate, but joined General Electric in 1929, becoming General Manager, GCE Witton, Birmingham in 1960. After his retirement in 1965, he served as Midlands Regional Training Officer, Engineering Industry Training Board, until 1969.


4 archive box(es) (4 boxes) : paper/photograph/slide

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Thomas Kelsey's son, Dr Tom Kelsey, in 2007.

Existence and Location of Copies

The lantern slides in this collection (RCS/RCMS 353/4) have been digitised. Follow the digital object links to view the images on Cambridge Digital Library.


This collection level description was created by MJC.


Kelsey, Thomas Hubert, 1905-1974, engineer

Includes index.
2010-10-20 09:03:54+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom