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