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Inter-University Council Collection

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3011WW

Scope and Contents

A collection of photographs (various dates, sizes and photographers) and slides with a few leaflets, a file of correspondence, and some title cards as described below. The collection appears to have been assembled chiefly for publicity purposes and there is a file of correspondence requesting photographic and other material. Some of the photographs are mounted on cards for display, but the majority are loose prints stored in folders. There are also a few albums. The main subjects are the layout, building and appearance of the universities, including, in some cases, pictures of models and aerial views, and the life of students and staff. More general pictures of the city or area of the university are found in a few cases. There are also some coats of arms, chiefly from greeting cards.

The list falls into four sections, beginning with General, for material on the IUC as a whole and a few items on British universities. The major part of the collection, on individual Commonwealth universities, follows. To take account of changing names, the universities are set out under their titles, arranged in country order, as in the Commonwealth Universities Yearbook (year not recorded) which has also provided the brief historical notes. Some of the photographs have additional information written on their reverse by Ian Maxwell, Deputy Director of the IUC. No detailed research or listing has been attempted, but groups of photographs which by date, photographer's name, or obvious numbering go together have been linked up, though some confusion can arise between original numbering and renumbering by IUC for its own needs. Under each university any large general collection comes first, followed by items which can be dated easily in chronological order; miscellaneous material comes at the end. Where a collection has a specific subject, this is indicated, but in general the collections are broad in scope. A few items of special interest, such as a significant occasion in the life of the institution, or the arrival of a distinguished visitor, have been individually listed. Obvious duplication only has been noted. Some cross references are included. The total number of photographs for each university is given in brackets after its name. The list ends with a small section of Non-Commonwealth Universities, and an Appendix lists slides (which are cross-referenced from the main list).

The collection was received in time for 8 photographs to be selected to form Section G.10 of the exhibition, 'Commonwealth in Focus', prepared by the Library for the Brisbane Festival coinciding with the Commonwealth Games of 1982, and this has been indicated by CF followed by the Catalogue number and the copy negative (CN) number. A batch of 5 x 3 inch cards came with this collection; they were prepared for an exhibition in 1974 and are in numbered sets, with short captions. Where the photographs to which they relate have been identified, the cards have been filed with them and 'Cards' appears in brackets at the appropriate point in the list, in University of the West Indies - Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados - Guyana, Papua New Guinea, Ahmadu Bello, Ife, Hong Kong and Malaya). It has not been possible to collate all the cards with their photographs, however.

The whole collection is filed in 14 boxes in the same order as the list, save for some very large items which have been stored separately in a portfolio, and this is indicated after the relevant entries.


  • Creation: 1946 - 1986


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

The Inter-University Council for Higher Education in the Colonies (IUC) was set up in 1946 to restore war-damaged universities in Malta and Hong Kong and to establish new ones in other dependent territories. The Council's work grew far beyond its original purposes, and in a time of rapid political transformation reflected in its change of title to Inter-University Council for Higher Education Overseas (1955), became a body promoting the development of universities in independent countries of the Commonwealth and indeed beyond it. However, changing circumstances led to a decision to end the separated existence of the Council and it was amalgamated with the British Council on 1 April 1981.


.15 cubic metre(s) (14 archival boxes and 1 portfolio containing 1277 images) : photograph

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The photographs collected by the IUC over a period of years were given to the Library of the Royal Commonwealth Society in January 1982 through its Deputy Director, Mr. Ian Maxwell. A further 21 photographs were given by Mr Maxwell in January 1986.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: General Collections, fiche number 52-81.


The papers of the IUC were transferred to the Public Record Office and a substantial guide to these was published as: The papers of the Inter-University Council for Higher Education Overseas in the Public Record Office, Kew, 1946-1981 (1985), London: British Council; Public Record Office. For an account of the first 25 years of the IUC see: Maxwell, Ian C.M. (1980), 'Universities in partnership', Edinburgh: Scottish Academic.


This collection level description was entered by SG using information from the original typescript catalogue.


Inter-University Council for Higher Education Overseas

Includes index.
2004-02-10 09:03:38+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