The early 1930s were a time of global instability. The financial depression reduced living standards, jobs, and trade. At the same time, extreme ideologies were gaining ground. In response to these challenges, in 1934 the UK government created the British Council, initially called the British Committee for Relations with Other Countries. 

Our first overseas offices opened in 1938, making us the oldest cultural relations organisation in the world. The office in Bulgaria was among the first ones – established in 1939 and opened to the public in early 1940.

This exhibition tells our story in Bulgaria through the letters sent from Sofia to London by the British Council directors over the early years, as well as some other documents which are now kept in the UK National Archives.

Explore the exhibition