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Board of Trade: Companies Registration Office: Files of Dissolved Companies

BT 31
Board of Trade: Companies Registration Office: Files of Dissolved Companies

Files of dissolved companies registered with the Board of Trade from 1856 onwards.

The files cover those dissolved companies of all kinds incorporated between 1856 and 1931 and dissolved before 1932; some files of companies incorporated between 1856 and 1900 and dissolved between 1933 and 1948; files of public and private non-exempt companies incorporated up to 1970 and dissolved between 1948 and 1971 with a one per cent sample of files of exempt private companies. The files for public companies dissolved since 2 July 1960 have all been preserved.

These files do not contain the internal day-to-day business records. Many of the documents are of a legal and procedural nature and are primarily concerned with the winding-up arrangements prior to the dissolution of a company, and the company's compliance with the Companies Acts. They often include:

  • memorandum and articles of association containing particulars of the company's constitution;
  • lists and stakes of shareholders;
  • location of registered office;
  • register of directors;
  • annual returns.


To order up a company file between BT 31/1-43681 both the box number and the company number are required e.g. the reference for the Leyland and Public Hall Company Ltd would be BT 31/16049/58735.

If the company number is not known use a * after the reference, e.g. BT 31/16049/*.

The date provided in the series list is the year of incorporation.

Company names in the series list are preceded by company numbers.

Separated Material:
Most business records are kept in local archives, if they survive.
Held by:
The National Archives, Kew
Legal status:
Public Record
Physical description:
47620 boxes, files and volumes
Access conditions:
Selection and destruction information:
Under the terms of the Companies Act, 1948 and the Public Records Acts, a schedule of destruction dated July 1950 was prepared in order to reduce the great bulk of the dissolved companies' files. The annual returns in these files were destroyed except the first, last, and every intermediate fifth; also a one per cent sample was preserved of entire files of dissolved companies registered from 1856 onwards ('P' or 'X' appears against the entries for such files in the catalogue). In 1959 and 1960 for the reason noted above the Particular Instance Paper Committee decided that (a) all documents of dissolved public and non-exempt private companies, except certain of the annual returns, should be preserved; of the returns, the first, last, and every intermediate tenth should be preserved and the rest destroyed (b) files of dissolved exempt private companies with the exception of one file in every hundred ('X' in the catalogue) should be destroyed.
Series is accruing

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