The Imperial Institute in London was set up in 1887 to encourage trade and links within the Empire. It was established at a time that the British were concerned to threats to their imperial dominance from rivals such as Germany, France, Russia and America. It would lobby for a move towards imperial preferences in a bid to justify the existence of a distinctive imperial economic policy.
The building was located on Exhibition Row in South Kensington and was descended form the Colonial and Indian exhibition of 1886. The institute was renamed to the Commonwealth Institute in 1958 and changed locations. The remains of the original buildings now form part of Imperial College, London.