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Civil Service through the archives

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Civil Service through the archives

Civil servant sitting at a desk, 1920 (catalogue reference: STAT 20/412)

Civil servant sitting at a desk, 1920 (catalogue reference: STAT 20/412)

08 July 2009

This week sees Civil Service Live 2009 taking place in London. The event is aimed at civil servants at all levels and will showcase the very best of what the civil service does.

An event exhibition, 'Civil service through the archives', showcases the fascinating history of the civil service using The National Archives' in-house expertise, documents and images.

Civil service history

Documents include Sir Stafford Northcote's recommendations to unify the civil service in 1853 and establish an entry exam. Recruitment posters and pamphlets from the 1940s were also uncovered, as well as psychology tests, the minutes of a Cabinet meeting in June 1968 in which the highly significant Fulton report on the structure of the civil service was discussed, as well as James Bond author Ian Fleming's application form!

Other snapshots of civil service history presented include the story of Evelyn Sharp, the first female permanent secretary (1955), who became the first woman to gain pay equal to her male counterparts - ten years before it was rolled out to all women in the civil service.

Also unearthed was the 'disappointed fiancée' file in which female civil servants were expected to give up their positions once married, a trend which ended in the civil service in 1946, years before many other institutions.  The file tells of a handful of female civil servants who, after being forced to leave the civil service, find themselves jilted by their husbands-to-be and demanding their jobs back…


 

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