The National Archives is a government department in its own right and an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice.
As a centre of expertise in managing all kinds of information, we support the public sector in continually building its capability in this field. And as the national archive of England, Wales and the United Kingdom, we preserve over 1,000 years of public records, making them accessible to all.
Managing and preserving government information is an increasingly complex task, particularly in a world of digital technology. Methods used for creating, storing and sharing information evolve continually, and so do the most appropriate strategies for managing and using it effectively.
Formation of The National Archives
Between 2003 and 2006, four government bodies - each specialising in particular aspects of managing information - joined together to form a single organisation in The National Archives:
- the Public Record Office, created as a result of the Public Record Office Act 1838 - the national archive of England, Wales and the United Kingdom government, dedicated to preserving key public records and making them accessible to researchers
- the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, appointed under Royal Warrant in 1869 to locate and identify manuscripts and private papers of historical interest, reporting on their contents
- Her Majesty's Stationery Office, founded in 1786, holder of Crown copyright and official printer of all Acts of Parliament since 1889
- the Office of Public Sector Information, created in 2005 following a European Union directive to promote the re-use of information produced and collected by public sector organisations
The National Archives brings together the skills and specialisms needed in today's digital world for managing and preserving government information past, present and future.
We work with all kinds of information from paper and parchment to digital files and datasets, building on over 170 years of pioneering work in managing key public records.