Public Record Office

Keeper of Public RecordsKeeper of the Public RecordsPRORecord OfficePublic Records OfficeBritish Public Record OfficeDeputy Keeper of the Public RecordsPublic RecordsState Paper OfficeBritish Public Records
The Public Record Office (abbreviated as PRO, pronounced as three letters and referred to as the PRO), Chancery Lane in the City of London, was the guardian of the national archives of the United Kingdom from 1838 until 2003, when it was merged with the Historical Manuscripts Commission to form The National Archives, based at Kew.wikipedia
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Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts

Historical Manuscripts CommissionHistorical Manuscript CommissionHMC
The Public Record Office (abbreviated as PRO, pronounced as three letters and referred to as the PRO), Chancery Lane in the City of London, was the guardian of the national archives of the United Kingdom from 1838 until 2003, when it was merged with the Historical Manuscripts Commission to form The National Archives, based at Kew.
It remained in existence until 2003, when it merged with the Public Record Office to form The National Archives.

The National Archives (United Kingdom)

National ArchivesThe National ArchivesUK National Archive
The Public Record Office (abbreviated as PRO, pronounced as three letters and referred to as the PRO), Chancery Lane in the City of London, was the guardian of the national archives of the United Kingdom from 1838 until 2003, when it was merged with the Historical Manuscripts Commission to form The National Archives, based at Kew.
TNA was formerly four separate organisations: the Public Record Office (PRO), the Historical Manuscripts Commission, the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) and Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO).

Master of the Rolls

MRHead of Civil Justicemastership of the rolls
It was under the control of the Master of the Rolls, a senior judge.
The Master of the Rolls had also been warden of the little-used Domus Conversorum for housing Jewish converts, which led to the house and chapel being used to store legal documents and later becoming the location of the Public Record Office.

Francis Palgrave

Sir Francis PalgraveFrancis CohenPalgrave, F.
The first Master of the Rolls to take on this responsibility was Lord Langdale (d.1851) although his Deputy Keeper, the historian Sir Francis Palgrave (who wrote a voluminous work on ancient writs, many of which were housed in the PRO), had full-time responsibility for running the Office.
He was Deputy Keeper (chief executive) of the Public Record Office from its foundation in 1838 until his death; and he is also remembered for his many scholarly publications.

Chapter house

chapter-housechapter roomchapter
Many documents were transferred from the Tower of London and the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey, though Domesday Book was not moved from Westminster Abbey until 1859, when proper storage had been prepared.
It was then converted into the first home of what is now the Public Record Office (the national archives) soon after the English Reformation and the late Gothic paintings added behind the seats (see gallery) preserved hidden behind bookshelves until the 19th century.

Chancery Lane

The Public Record Office (abbreviated as PRO, pronounced as three letters and referred to as the PRO), Chancery Lane in the City of London, was the guardian of the national archives of the United Kingdom from 1838 until 2003, when it was merged with the Historical Manuscripts Commission to form The National Archives, based at Kew. Its original premises were the mediaeval Rolls Chapel (the former Domus Conversorum, a chapel for Jews who had converted to Christianity), on Chancery Lane at the western extremity of the City of London, near the border with the City of Westminster.
The site later became the Public Record Office (which has since become the National Archives), the present Grade II* listed, Gothic Revival building designed by Sir James Pennethorne was built in 1851.

King's College London

King's College, LondonKing's CollegeKing’s College London
The Chancery Lane building was acquired by King's College London in 2001, and is now the Maughan Library, the University's largest library.
The same year King's acquired the former Public Record Office building on Chancery Lane and converted it at a cost of £35 million into the Maughan Library, which opened in 2002.

Henry Bickersteth, 1st Baron Langdale

Lord LangdaleHenry BickerstethThe Lord Langdale
The first Master of the Rolls to take on this responsibility was Lord Langdale (d.1851) although his Deputy Keeper, the historian Sir Francis Palgrave (who wrote a voluminous work on ancient writs, many of which were housed in the PRO), had full-time responsibility for running the Office.
He was determined that the government should provide an adequate Public Record Office and became known as the "father of record reform".

Domus Conversorum

Its original premises were the mediaeval Rolls Chapel (the former Domus Conversorum, a chapel for Jews who had converted to Christianity), on Chancery Lane at the western extremity of the City of London, near the border with the City of Westminster.
No records exist after 1609, but, in 1891, the post of chaplain was abolished by Act of Parliament and the location, which had been used to store legal archives, became the Public Record Office.

James Pennethorne

Sir James Pennethorne
Between 1851 and 1858 a purpose built archive repository was built next to the Rolls Chapel, to the design of the architect Sir James Pennethorne, and following the Chapel's demolition due to structural unsoundness, was extended onto that original site between 1895 and 1902.
In 1847 he drew up designs for the Public Record Office in Fetter Lane.

Public Records Act 1958

Public Records Act
The growing size of the archives held by the PRO and by government departments led to the Public Records Act 1958, which sought to avoid the indiscriminate retention of huge numbers of documents by establishing standard selection procedures for the identification of those documents of sufficient historical importance to be kept by the PRO.
It established a cohesive regulatory framework for public records at the Public Record Office and other places of deposit.

Domesday Book

Domesday SurveyDomesdayDoomsday Book
Many documents were transferred from the Tower of London and the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey, though Domesday Book was not moved from Westminster Abbey until 1859, when proper storage had been prepared.
In 1859 they were placed in the new Public Record Office, London.

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Public Records Office of Northern IrelandP.R.O.N.I.Public records Office Belfast
The National Archives of Scotland and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland were and remain separate institutions.
This new building, opened in 1972, at Balmoral Avenue and was the first new record office to be built in the UK since the Public Record Office in London was erected in 1838.

Thirty-year rule

thirty year rule30-year rulefifty-year rule
Under the 1958 act, most documents held by the PRO were kept "closed" (or secret) for 50 years: under an amending act of 1967 this period was reduced to 30 years (the so-called "thirty year rule").
There were two elements to the rule: the first required that records be transferred from government departments to the Public Record Office (now The National Archives) after thirty years unless specific exemptions were given (by the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Council on Public Records); the second that they would be opened to public access at the same time unless their release was deemed likely to cause "damage to the country's image, national security or foreign relations".

Thomas Duffus Hardy

Hardy, Thomas DuffusT. D. HardySir Thomas Duffus Hardy
Sir Thomas Duffus Hardy (22 May 1804 – 15 June 1878) was an English archivist and antiquary, who served as Deputy Keeper of the Public Record Office from 1861 to 1878.

Cyril Flower (historian)

Cyril Thomas FlowerC. Flower
He was the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, the de facto head of the Public Record Office, between 1938 and 1947.

Henry Maxwell Lyte

Sir Henry Churchill Maxwell-LyteHenry Churchill Maxwell LyteMaxwell Lyte, Sir Henry
He served as Deputy Keeper of the Public Records from 1886 to 1926, and was the author of numerous books including a history of Eton College.

Geoffrey Martin (historian)

Geoffrey MartinGeoffrey Haward Martin
Geoffrey Haward Martin (27 September 1928 – 20 December 2007) was a respected British academic, historian, and from 1982 to 1988 Keeper of Public Records of the UK.

David Evans (archivist)

David Lewis Evans
Sir David Lewis Evans, OBE, FRHistS (14 August 1893 – 23 April 1987) was a Welsh archivist who served as executive head of the Public Record Office from 1954 to 1960 (under the successive titles of Deputy Keeper of Public Records, 1954–58; and Keeper of Public Records, 1958–60).

Maughan Library

Rolls ChapelThe Maughan Librarychapel
The Chancery Lane building was acquired by King's College London in 2001, and is now the Maughan Library, the University's largest library. Its original premises were the mediaeval Rolls Chapel (the former Domus Conversorum, a chapel for Jews who had converted to Christianity), on Chancery Lane at the western extremity of the City of London, near the border with the City of Westminster.
A 19th-century neo-Gothic building located on Chancery Lane in the City of London, it was formerly the home to the headquarters of the Public Record Office, known as the "strong-box of the Empire", and was acquired by the university in 2001.

Sarah Tyacke

Sarah Jacqueline, Mrs Tyacke
From 1991 to 2005 she served as Keeper of Public Records and Chief Executive of the Public Record Office of the United Kingdom, and in this role oversaw the office's transition to become the new National Archives in 2003.

Hilary Jenkinson

Sir Hilary JenkinsonCharles Hilary JenkinsonJenkinson, H.
In 1906, Jenkinson joined the staff of the Public Record Office and worked on the arrangement and classification of the records of the medieval Exchequer.

Family Records Centre

The Kew building was expanded in the 1990s and by 1997 all records had been transferred from Chancery Lane either to Kew or to the Family Records Centre in Islington, North London.
Before the FRC opened, the census microfilms were at the Public Record Office (now part of the National Archives) in Chancery Lane for some years, after having been moved from the Land Registry building, Portugal Street, London, where they had been since the mid-1970s.

William Hardy (archivist)

William HardySir William Hardy
Hardy was then transferred to the Public Record Office and appointed an assistant-keeper in there.

Public Records Act 1967

Public Records Actact of 1967amending act of 1967
Under the 1958 act, most documents held by the PRO were kept "closed" (or secret) for 50 years: under an amending act of 1967 this period was reduced to 30 years (the so-called "thirty year rule").
*Public Record Office