Dadabhai Naoroji Photo Album and Presentation Box, 1892

The constituency of Central Finsbury elected Britain’s first Asian MP in 1892. This album and its presentation box were gifted by the people of Bombay (now Mumbai) to commemorate Dadhabai Naoroji’s election. He served as MP for Central Finsbury until his defeat in 1895.Naoroji Photo Album

Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) was born near Bombay and was the first Indian appointed as a Professor at Elphinstone College there. He moved to England in 1855 and became Professor of Gujurati at University College London (UCL) in 1856. Naoroji was a founder member of the East India Association and the London India Society. Within both of these organisations he promoted Indian rights in trade and the Civil Service.

Naoroji, photograph

During his time as MP for Central Finsbury, Naoroji’s position provoked further discussion of imperial citizenship in Britain. Naoroji also supported Home Rule for Ireland during this period, referring to the ‘ghostly persistence’ of Irish suffering in his public speeches. In these, Naoroji continued to represent himself as an imperial citizen. In the Pall Mall Gazette, he was described as holding his audience in his hands within the first five minutes of his speech at Holborn Town Hall in 1886. In 1901, he published Poverty and UnBritish Rule in India which is now regarded as a work which contributed to the founding of Indian nationalist economics.

Before his success in the 1892 election, Naoroji campaigned unsuccessfully as a Liberal party candidate in the staunchly Conservative area of Holborn. After losing his seat in Central Finsbury in 1895, Naoroji stood for election in Lambeth North in 1906 but was unsuccessful. He left England the following year to retire to India. Naoroji died at Versova in Bombay in 1917. Today there is a street named after Naoroji and a plaque at Finsbury Town Hall bearing his name.

EC1 Naoroji 04 (Medium)

Yao Blog 1

My name is Yao and I am studying Digital Humanities in UCL. In 2016 I earned my bachelor of art degree in Advertising from Sichuan University in China. During the term time, I was the vice president of the youth media department of Sichuan University, in responsibility of operating media networks and delivering social campaigns. I also interned in two 4A advertising agencies, Apex Ogilvy in Chengdu and J. Walter Thompson Beijing, participating in commercial communication proposals and media plans. After my graduation I decided to equip myself more with digital competency. Therefore I started a Digital Humanities course in UCL since September of 2016 and gained some abilities and skills in the internet technologies, information management, server programming and so on.

I really appreciate the concept of serving the local community with culture and heritage, as what Islington Museum is dedicated in. I would like to know more about the borough where I am based and that is also my initial motivation for working here. Islington Museum is a nice place with diverse collections and the people working here are lovely and helpful. The main task for me is to improve the museum database and develop a better way to organise those accessions within. I am pretty confident with any challenge in Islington Museum and am sure that I would learn a lot from the experts here.

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