The site of 17 Russell Square, currently home to the institute and library was formerly the Colonial Centre, which opened in 1943  as a hub for students from the Colonies, members of the armed forces and civilian workers during wartime. The Imperial War Museum has a series of photographs taken by Jack Bryson for the Ministry of Information Photo Division in 1944. 

Interesting fact: the Ministry of Information was located in Senate House, University of London during the 1940's. 

Video Presentation:  The Colonial Centre at IALS