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Non-ministerial department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of department of the United Kingdom government that deal with matters for which direct political oversight has been judged unnecessary or inappropriate. They are headed by senior civil se ...
, seal = , nativename = , logo = Logo_of_The_National_Archives_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg , logo_width = 150px , logo_caption = , formed = , preceding1 = , dissolved = , superseding = , jurisdiction =
England and Wales England and Wales () is one of the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. It covers the constituent countries England and Wales and was formed by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. The substantive law of the jurisdiction is Eng ...
,
HM Government ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size = 220px , image2 = Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg , image_size2 = 180px , caption = Royal Arms , date_es ...
, headquarters = Kew, Richmond,
Greater London Greater may refer to: * Greatness, the state of being great *Greater than, in inequality * ''Greater'' (film), a 2016 American film * Greater (flamingo), the oldest flamingo on record * "Greater" (song), by MercyMe, 2014 * Greater Bank, an Austra ...
TW9 4DU , region_code = GB , coordinates = , employees = 679 , budget = £43.9 million (2009–2010) , minister1_name = Michelle Donelan , minister1_pfo = Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport , minister2_name = TBC , minister2_pfo = Parliamentary Under Secretary of State , chief1_name = Jeff James , chief1_position = Chief Executive and Keeper of the Public Records , chief2_name = , chief2_position = , chief3_name = , chief3_position = , chief4_name = , chief4_position = , chief5_name = , chief5_position = , agency_type = , chief6_name = , chief6_position = , chief7_name = , chief7_position = , chief8_name = , chief8_position = , chief9_name = , chief9_position = , parent_department = Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport , child1_agency = Office of Public Sector Information , child2_agency = His Majesty's Stationery Office , keydocument1
Archives for Everyone 2019–23
, website = , footnotes = , map = , map_width = , map_caption = The National Archives (TNA, cy, Yr Archifau Cenedlaethol) is a
non-ministerial department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of department of the United Kingdom government that deal with matters for which direct political oversight has been judged unnecessary or inappropriate. They are headed by senior civil se ...
of the Government of the United Kingdom. Its parent department is the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland, Wales and North ...
. It is the official
archive An archive is an accumulation of historical records or materials – in any medium – or the physical facility in which they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual ...
of the UK Government and for England and Wales; and "guardian of some of the nation's most iconic documents, dating back more than 1,000 years." There are separate national archives for
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
(the National Records of Scotland) and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
(the
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is situated in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is a division within the Engaged Communities Group of the Department for Communities (DfC). The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland is dist ...
). TNA was formerly four separate organisations: the Public Record Office (PRO), the
Historical Manuscripts Commission The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts (widely known as the Historical Manuscripts Commission, and abbreviated as the HMC to distinguish it from the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England), was a United Kingdom Royal Co ...
, the
Office of Public Sector Information The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) is the body responsible for the operation of His Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) and of other public information services of the United Kingdom. The OPSI is part of the National Archives of the U ...
(OPSI) and
His Majesty's Stationery Office The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) is the body responsible for the operation of His Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) and of other public information services of the United Kingdom. The OPSI is part of the National Archives of the U ...
(HMSO). The Public Record Office still exists as a legal entity, as the enabling legislation has not been modified, and documents held by the institution thus continue to be cited by many scholars as part of the PRO. Since 2008, TNA has also hosted the former UK Statute Law Database, now known as legislation.gov.uk. It is institutional policy to include the definite article, with an initial capital letter, in its name (hence "The National Archives", abbreviated as TNA) but this practice is not always followed in the non-specialist media. The department is the responsibility of the
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Civil Society is a junior position in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the British government. It is currently held by Stuart Andrew who took the office on ...
; a minister in His Majesty's Government.


Location

The National Archives is based in Kew in the
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames () in southwest London forms part of Outer London and is the only London borough on both sides of the River Thames. It was created in 1965 when three smaller council areas amalgamated under the London ...
in south-west London. The building was opened in 1977 as an additional home for the public records, which were held in a building on
Chancery Lane Chancery Lane is a one-way street situated in the ward of Farringdon Without in the City of London. It has formed the western boundary of the City since 1994, having previously been divided between the City of Westminster and the London Boro ...
. The site was originally a World War I hospital, which was later used by several government departments. It is near to Kew Gardens Underground station. Until its closure in March 2008, the
Family Records Centre The Family Records Centre (FRC) provided access to family history research sources mainly for England and Wales. It was administered jointly by the General Register Office (GRO) and The National Archives. It opened in March 1997 and was fully o ...
in Islington was run jointly by The National Archives and the
General Register Office General Register Office or General Registry Office (GRO) is the name given to the civil registry in the United Kingdom, many other Commonwealth nations and Ireland. The GRO is the government agency responsible for the recording of vital recor ...
. The National Archives has an additional office in
Norwich Norwich () is a cathedral city and district of Norfolk, England, of which it is the county town. Norwich is by the River Wensum, about north-east of London, north of Ipswich and east of Peterborough. As the seat of the See of Norwich, wit ...
, which is primarily for former OPSI staff. There is also an additional record storage facility (DeepStore) in the worked-out parts of Winsford Rock Salt Mine, Winsford,
Cheshire Cheshire ( ) is a ceremonial and historic county in North West England, bordered by Wales to the west, Merseyside and Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire to the east, and Staffordshire and Shropshire to the south. Cheshire's county tow ...
.


History

The National Archives was created in 2003 by combining the Public Record Office and the
Historical Manuscripts Commission The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts (widely known as the Historical Manuscripts Commission, and abbreviated as the HMC to distinguish it from the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England), was a United Kingdom Royal Co ...
and is a
non-ministerial department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of department of the United Kingdom government that deal with matters for which direct political oversight has been judged unnecessary or inappropriate. They are headed by senior civil se ...
reporting to the
Minister of State Minister of State is a title borne by politicians in certain countries governed under a parliamentary system. In some countries a Minister of State is a Junior Minister of government, who is assigned to assist a specific Cabinet Minister. In o ...
for digital policy. On 31 October 2006, The National Archives merged with the
Office of Public Sector Information The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) is the body responsible for the operation of His Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) and of other public information services of the United Kingdom. The OPSI is part of the National Archives of the U ...
(OPSI), which itself also contained His Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) which was previously a part of the
Cabinet Office The Cabinet Office is a department of His Majesty's Government responsible for supporting the prime minister and Cabinet. It is composed of various units that support Cabinet committees and which co-ordinate the delivery of government object ...
. The name remained ''The National Archives''.


Chief Executive and Keeper

*1991–2005: Sarah Tyacke *2005–2010:
Natalie Ceeney Natalie Anna Ceeney (born 22 August 1971) is a British civil servant and businessperson who has filled several senior roles in both the public and private sectors in the United Kingdom. She was chief executive of The National Archives from 2005 ...
*2010–2013: Oliver Morley *2013–2014: Clem Brohier ''(acting)'' *2014–present: Jeff James


Key roles

TNA claims it is "at the heart of information policy—setting standards and supporting innovation in information and records management across the UK, and providing a practical framework of best practice for opening up and encouraging the re-use of public sector information. This work helps inform today's decisions and ensure that they become tomorrow's permanent record." It has a number of key roles in information policy: * Policy – advising government on information practice and policy, on issues from record creation through to its reuse * Selection – selecting which documents to store * Preservation – ensuring the documents remain in as good a condition as possible * Access – providing the public with the opportunity to view the documents * Advice – advising the public and other archives and archivists around the world on how to care for documents * Intellectual property management – TNA (via OPSI and HMSO) manages crown copyright for the UK * Regulation – ensuring that other public sector organisations adhere to both the public records act and the PSI reuse regulations.


Sector leadership

The National Archives (and before it the Public Record Office) has long had a role of oversight and leadership for the entire archives sector and archives profession in the UK, including
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-loc ...
and non-governmental archives. Under the Public Records Act 1958 it is responsible for overseeing the appropriate custody of certain non-governmental public records in
England and Wales England and Wales () is one of the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. It covers the constituent countries England and Wales and was formed by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. The substantive law of the jurisdiction is Eng ...
. Under the 2003 Historical Manuscripts Commission Warrant it has responsibility for investigating and reporting on non-governmental records and archives of all kinds throughout the United Kingdom. In October 2011, when the
Museums, Libraries and Archives Council The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) was until May 2012 a non-departmental public body and registered charity in England with a remit to promote improvement and innovation in the area of museums, libraries and archives. Its function ...
was wound up, TNA took over its responsibilities in respect of archives in England, including providing information and advice to ministers on archives policy. The National Archives now sees this part of its role as being "to enhance the 'archival health of the nation'".


Collections


Types of records

The National Archives is His Majesty's Government's official archive, "containing 1000 years of history from Domesday Book to the present", with records from parchment and paper scrolls through to digital files and archived websites. The material held at Kew includes the following: *Documents from the central courts of law from the twelfth century onwards, including the
Court of King's Bench The King's Bench (), or, during the reign of a female monarch, the Queen's Bench ('), refers to several contemporary and historical courts in some Commonwealth realm, Commonwealth jurisdictions. * Court of King's Bench (England), a historic co ...
, the Court of Common Pleas, the
Court of Chancery The Court of Chancery was a court of equity in England and Wales that followed a set of loose rules to avoid a slow pace of change and possible harshness (or "inequity") of the Common law#History, common law. The Chancery had jurisdiction over ...
, the Court of Exchequer, the Supreme Court of Judicature, the Central Criminal Court, Assizes, and many other courts *Medieval, early modern and modern records of central government *A large and disparate collection of maps, plans and architectural drawings *Records for family historians including wills, naturalisation certificates and criminal records *Service and operational records of the armed forces War Office, Admiralty etc. *
Foreign Office Foreign may refer to: Government * Foreign policy, how a country interacts with other countries * Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in many countries ** Foreign Office, a department of the UK government ** Foreign office and foreign minister * Unite ...
and
Colonial Office The Colonial Office was a government department of the Kingdom of Great Britain and later of the United Kingdom, first created to deal with the colonial affairs of British North America but required also to oversee the increasing number of co ...
correspondence and files *Cabinet papers and Home Office records *Statistics of the
Board of Trade The Board of Trade is a British government body concerned with commerce and industry, currently within the Department for International Trade. Its full title is The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of ...
* The surviving records of (mainly) the English railway companies, transferred from the British Railways Record Office There is also a museum, which displays key documents such as
Domesday Book Domesday Book () – the Middle English spelling of "Doomsday Book" – is a manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William I, known as William the Conqueror. The manus ...
and has exhibitions on various topics using material from the collections.


Access to documents

The collections held by the National Archives can be searched using their online catalogue. Entrance to The National Archives is free. Anybody aged 16 or over can access the original documents at the Kew site, after producing two acceptable proofs of identity and being issued a free reader's ticket. The reading room has terminals from which documents can be ordered up from secure storage areas by their reference number. The reference number is composed of three sections: the department code of up to four letters, such as WO for the War Office; a series or class number, for the "subcategory" or collection that the document comes from; and an individual document number. Documents can also be ordered in advance. Once a document has been ordered, The National Archives aims to get it to the reader within 45 minutes (assuming it is kept at Kew rather than at their second repository, "Deep Store" – a former salt mine in Cheshire: it can take 2–3 days for files to be retrieved from the latter). Special arrangements are in place for readers wishing to retrieve large groups of files. A reader's ticket is not needed to access records on microform or online. Frequently accessed documents such as the Abdication Papers have been put on microfilm, as have records for two million
First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
soldiers. The originals of the latter were stored in a warehouse in London along with four million others, but incendiary bombs dropped on the warehouse in the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great powers—forming two opposi ...
started a fire in which most were destroyed. The surviving third were largely water or fire-damaged and thus acquired the colloquial name of the "Burnt Documents." Because they were mostly too fragile for public access, they were put on microfilm with the aid of the
Heritage Lottery Fund The National Lottery Heritage Fund, formerly the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), distributes a share of National Lottery funding, supporting a wide range of heritage projects across the United Kingdom. History The fund's predecessor bodies were ...
. They have now also been digitised and are available on the Ancestry website. Some of the most popular documents have now been digitised and are available to download from Discovery, for a fee of £3.50 per file, or through co-branded services called licensed Internet associates (LIA) as pay per view or part of their subscription service. A list of records online is available under the records, catalogues and online records menu on The National Archives' website. All of the open census records have been digitised, and there are also significant other sources online, such as wills proved in the
Prerogative Court of Canterbury In law, a prerogative is an exclusive right bestowed by a government or state and invested in an individual or group, the content of which is separate from the body of rights enjoyed under the general law. It was a common facet of feudal law. Th ...
, 1383–1858. Researchers are encouraged to check the online services first, to see if they can get what they want online. If a document is available online, The National Archives' policy is to encourage people to use the digital copy and not the original, even if they come to Kew, in order to protect the original from damage.


Storage

The documents are stored on
mobile shelving Mobile shelving, mobile aisle shelving, compactus, roller racking, or rolling stack, are terms applied to shelving or storage units fitted with wheeled traction systems. Units can be closely packed when access is not required, but can be readily ...
– double-sided shelves, which are pushed together so that there is no aisle between them. A large handle on the end of each shelf allows them to be moved along tracks in the floor to create an aisle when needed. They are generally stored in acid-free folders or boxes. In the event of a fire The National Archives would be clearly unable to use sprinklers for fear of ruining its holdings, and so when the building is evacuated, argon gas is released into the air-tight repositories.


Other services

The National Archives also provides services to help users in their research and also find collections beyond those it holds.


Education

The National Archives' education web page is a free online resource for teaching and learning history, aimed at teachers and students. Users can select time periods they are interested in, from the medieval era to the present day. Each time period contains sub-topics with various materials that can be used as teaching tools for teachers. Resources for students focus primarily on tips for research and writing using archival materials.


"Access to Archives"

Access to Archives (also known as A2A) is a database containing details of archival collections held in many different archive repositories in England and Wales. As of March 2008, there are no more plans to add additional collections to A2A due to lack of funding from the
Heritage Lottery Fund The National Lottery Heritage Fund, formerly the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), distributes a share of National Lottery funding, supporting a wide range of heritage projects across the United Kingdom. History The fund's predecessor bodies were ...
and the changing financial priorities of The National Archives, but existing entries can still be updated. The A2A database was transferred to The National Archives with a new platform with a simpler interface to ensure its availability.


National Register of Archives

The National Register of Archives (NRA) is the central point for the collection and circulation of information about the content and nature of archival manuscripts relating to British history. It contains published and unpublished lists and catalogues describing archival collections in the UK and overseas: currently over 44,000 such catalogues are included. The register can be consulted in the National Archives reading room and the index used to be searchable as an online database on the National Archives web site. The information is collected in a variety of ways. TNA is sent hard-copy catalogues from archive repositories holding records relating to British history. These are kept in the reading room at The National Archives and indexed in the online database. TNA conducts an annual survey of archive repositories and records all new accessions, and the accession lists are also available on TNA's website. Information is also obtained from surveys and guides to archival collections, and other publications. The Register includes name indexes to its contents (covering corporate names, personal names, family names, and place names); but not subject or thematic indexes. Where the catalogues are themselves available online the indexes provide direct electronic links; but many still exist in hard copy only (often as unpublished "
grey literature Grey literature (or gray literature) is materials and research produced by organizations outside of the traditional commercial or academic publishing and distribution channels. Common grey literature publication types include reports ( annual, res ...
"), and it remains necessary for the researcher to visit either TNA or the specific repository in order to consult them. A separate National Register of Archives for Scotland is maintained at the National Archives of Scotland, but its contents are duplicated within the NRA at Kew.


ARCHON directory

ARCHON Directory is a database of contact details for archive repositories in the UK and institutions elsewhere in the world which have substantial collections of manuscripts relating to British history.


"Your Archives"

Your Archives is a
wiki A wiki ( ) is an online hypertext publication collaboratively edited and managed by its own audience, using a web browser. A typical wiki contains multiple pages for the subjects or scope of the project, and could be either open to the pub ...
for the National Archives on-line community which was launched in May 2007; it was closed for editing on 30 September 2012 in preparation of archiving on the Government web archive. The contributions are made by users to give additional information to that which is available on the other services provided by the National Archives, including the catalogue, research guides, documentonline and National Register of Archive. Your Archives encourages users to create articles not only about historical records held by the National Archives, but those held in other archive repositories.


Databases

The National Archives also hosts several databases on types of records including hospital records; migration records; and manorial records. Working with the
Wellcome Library The Wellcome Library is founded on the collection formed by Sir Henry Wellcome (1853–1936), whose personal wealth allowed him to create one of the most ambitious collections of the 20th century. Henry Wellcome's interest was the history of m ...
, TNA has made hospital records available via the Hospital Records Database. The Hospital Records Database has not been updated since 2012, and there are no current updates occurring as of 2018. The Manorial Documents Register includes records relating to manors located in England and Wales. Digitization of the records is on-going as of 2018.


Civil Pages

The National Archives operates the Civil Pages project on behalf of the Cabinet Office, operating as an online directory for the civil service, facilitating working together and providing a means of sharing knowledge securely between government departments.


Smartphone applications

In January 2011 The National Archives, in conjunction with historian Nick Barratt and smartphone applications development studio RevelMob, developed its first Old Money iPhone app, which uses historic price data from documents held at The National Archives to see what a sum of money from the past (from 1270) would be worth today and the spending power it would have commanded at the time. In September 2011, TNA's museum began using QRpedia codes, which can be scanned by smartphone users in order to retrieve information about exhibits from
Wikipedia Wikipedia is a Multilingualism, multilingual free online encyclopedia written and maintained by a community of online volunteering, volunteers, known as Wikipedians, through open collaboration and using a wiki-based editing system. Wikipedia ...
.


Blogs and podcasts

TNA regularly posts blogs to its website. Posts cover a wide range of topics, from specific events and time periods to features on holdings in TNA, as well as information on the archive's operations. The "Archives Media Player" section holds videos and podcasts created and posted by TNA. Videos and audio are not posted as regularly as TNA's blog.


The Future: Archives Inspire 2015–19

Archives Inspire is a strategy document that sets out the goals and priorities of the organisation over four years, from 2015 onwards.


Forgeries discovered in 2005

In June 2005, journalist Ben Fenton of ''
The Daily Telegraph ''The Daily Telegraph'', known online and elsewhere as ''The Telegraph'', is a national British daily broadsheet newspaper published in London by Telegraph Media Group and distributed across the United Kingdom and internationally. It was fo ...
'' received an email from a colleague asking him to investigate documents held at TNA that alleged that a British intelligence agent had, on the orders of
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War, and again from 1 ...
, murdered
Heinrich Himmler Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (; 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was of the (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of th ...
, the head of the
Nazi Nazism ( ; german: Nazismus), the common name in English for National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the far-right totalitarian political ideology and practices associated with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in ...
SS, in 1945. The three documents had come to prominence after being revealed by author Martin Allen in his book ''Himmler's Secret War''. On viewing photographs of the documents, Fenton's suspicions were immediately aroused by the fact that such a controversial policy was casually committed to paper, even to the extent of naming the assassin, and by the use of colourful language. Viewing the original documents the next day, Fenton spotted what looked like pencil marks beneath the signature on one of them. This confirmed his suspicions and, along with his experience of analysing historic documents, it enabled him to persuade ''The Daily Telegraph'' to pay for forensic analysis. TNA staff took four files, along with authenticated copies of the authors' handwriting, to Dr Audrey Giles, a former head of
Scotland Yard Scotland Yard (officially New Scotland Yard) is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, the territorial police force responsible for policing Greater London's 32 boroughs, but not the City of London, the square mile that forms London's ...
's Questioned Documents Unit, who confirmed that the documents were forgeries. One letter head had been printed on a
laser printer Laser printing is an electrostatic digital printing process. It produces high-quality text and graphics (and moderate-quality photographs) by repeatedly passing a laser beam back and forth over a negatively-charged cylinder called a "drum" t ...
and all had tear marks where they had been threaded on to the security tags. Further investigations by TNA staff revealed that the counterfeit documents contained errors, breaches of protocol and etiquette which their supposed authors would not have committed. After his account of the deception appeared in the newspaper, Fenton was contacted by a German academic, Ernst Haiger, who informed him of his own suspicions over other TNA documents cited in an earlier Allen book. Examination by TNA experts led to more than a dozen documents being identified as suspicious and submitted to Home Office specialists for examination. When they, too, were declared forgeries, the TNA called in the police. In the addendum to the later American edition of the book (which acknowledged that the papers were forged), Allen theorised that, some time after he saw the documents, they had been removed and replaced with clumsily forged replicas, to cast doubt upon his discoveries. In all, twenty-nine forged documents were discovered, each typed on one of only four typewriters. They were placed in twelve separate files, and cited at least once in one or more of Allen's three books. According to the experts at TNA, documents now shown to be forgeries supported controversial arguments central to each of Allen's books: in ''Hidden Agenda'', five documents now known to be forged helped justify his claim that the
Duke of Windsor Duke of Windsor was a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 8 March 1937 for the former monarch Edward VIII, following his abdication on 11 December 1936. The dukedom takes its name from the town where Windsor Castle, a re ...
betrayed military secrets to
Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 until Death of Adolf Hitler, his death in 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the le ...
; in ''The Hitler/Hess Deception'', thirteen forged papers supported Allen's contention that, in 1941, British intelligence used members of the
Royal Family A royal family is the immediate family of kings/queens, emirs/emiras, sultans/ sultanas, or raja/ rani and sometimes their extended family. The term imperial family appropriately describes the family of an emperor or empress, and the term pa ...
to fool the Nazis into thinking Britain was on the verge of a pro-German putsch; in ''Himmler's Secret War'', twenty-two counterfeit papers also underpinned the book's core claims that British intelligence played mind games with Himmler to encourage him to betray Hitler from 1943 onwards, and that ultimately they murdered the SS chief. In 2007 the Crown Prosecution Service announced that it was "not in the public interest" to prosecute the only suspect questioned by police. Allen's health problems had prevented the police questioning him for nine months, after which he told them he was wholly innocent. In a December 2007 response to questions from Norman Baker MP, the Solicitor-General said that the police investigation, guided by the opinion of a senior barrister, had produced "sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction" on charges of forgery, using a forged document and criminal damage but it had been decided that it was not in the public interest to proceed. In reaching that decision, "matters relating to Mr Allen's health and the surrounding circumstances were significant in deciding that a prosecution was not in the public interest".


Lost and misplaced records

Between 2005 and 2011, over 1500 files had been reported missing from the archives. Notable items reported missing during this period included correspondence from
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War, and again from 1 ...
and documents from the courts of several monarchies. Around 800 of these records have since been recovered, and the archives has reported that they believe most are misplaced rather than permanently lost. In 2017, the archives again received attention when it was reported that around 1000 files had been removed – in part or whole – by government officials and reported as missing when not returned. In response to concerns stated by politicians and historians about management of the collection, the archives stressed that the number of missing files is quite small in proportion the entire holdings of the repository – about 0.01% – and that, as of 2017, its loss rate was only around 100 documents, annually.


MI5 records at TNA

TNA receives records from
MI5 The Security Service, also known as MI5 ( Military Intelligence, Section 5), is the United Kingdom's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), G ...
around twice a year. Some information in records—or records themselves—are withheld at the discretion of MI5.


MI5 records in the news

MI5 records relating to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's time in office have caused some questions and controversy regarding the transparency of the British government. In 2017, journalist Richard Norton-Taylor argued that MI5, and the British government by extension, was purposely withholding some information that the public deserves to know. Norton-Taylor specifically refers to Thatcher's reluctance to allow the publication of two books looking into the impact that intelligence organizations of Britain had on World War II, as well as her worries about British activities in Northern Ireland becoming known to the general public. Additional MI5 records relating to the blacklisting of government workers during Thatcher's time in office have also prompted questions after their release. In addition to government workers, the blacklists also targeted other groups, such as unions and minorities, that may not fall in line with Conservative policies. Debates on the roles of MI5, Whitehall, and Thatcher's administration, have come up in light of these records at TNA and prompted questions of transparency as well as whether or not these blacklists had an effect on the careers of any individuals included. Questions also remain, as of 2018, whether or not there are still blacklists currently in effect and if these could affect government workers, unions, and other individuals possibly included in the blacklists.


See also

*
UK Government Web Archive The UK Government Web Archive (UKGWA) is part of The National Archives of the United Kingdom. The National Archives collects records from all UK government departments and bodies creating records defined as Public Records under the British Publi ...
*
International Standard Bibliographic Description The International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) is a set of rules produced by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to create a bibliographic description in a standard, human-readable form, especial ...
* List and Index Society *
List of national archives National archives are central archives maintained by countries. This article contains a list of national archives. Among its more important tasks are to ensure the accessibility and preservation of the information produced by governments, both ...
* PRONOM technical registry


References


External links

*
National Records of Scotland
a separate organisation
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
the official repository for Northern Ireland
Your Archives
wiki for users of The National Archives {{DEFAULTSORT:National Archives, the 2003 establishments in the United Kingdom Archives in England Archives in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Archives in the United Kingdom Buildings and structures on the River Thames Executive agencies of the United Kingdom government Kew, London
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland, Wales and No ...
Organisations based in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Organisations using QRpedia State archives Tourist attractions in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames United Kingdom government information