Home Office: Registered Papers
This is the main series of Home Office papers. The subject matter of the files reflects the diversity of domestic matters dealt with by the Home Office. These have included aliens, betting and gaming, borstals, building societies, burials and cremations, bye-laws, changes of name, the Channel Islands, charities, children, civil juries, drugs, ecclesiastical matters, elections, explosives, extradition, factories, fire services, firearms, honours, Ireland and subsequently Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, magistrates, markets and fairs, Lords Lieutenant, mental patients and criminal lunatics, naturalization, pardons, petitions of right, poisons, police, prisons, prostitution, public order, use of royal title by institutions and companies, universities, vivisection, wartime measures, warrants and wild birds.
For naturalization papers: information regarding the place of residence (usually town) only appears from 1878 onwards.
From 1848 all papers reaching the Home Office were registered centrally, and earlier papers were numbered retrospectively. Those papers selected for preservation were re-registered as OS (Old Series) papers. In 1871 a single numerical series was introduced, to be replaced in 1880 by a numerical series with an A prefix. This was followed shortly afterwards by series with B, V, and X prefixes. These series were replaced in 1902 by a six figure numerical series starting at 100,001 which continued until 1949 when separate series were introduced for each function, each distinguished by letter symbols.
The catalogue is arranged in subject order within blocks of years. The same subject headings are those used by the Home Office in its registers (HO 46). The portion of the list covering the years 1871-1919 cites the original Home Office file number only. To order these files a box number is needed as well as a file number. This can be found in the box list, in which the file number should be sought in the appropriate block of boxes (eg 1871-8, 1879-1900, 1901-1909, 1910-1919). The ordering reference will then be in the form HO 45/box no./file no. (eg HO 45/10523/140292). From 1921, box numbers as well as file numbers are given together in the series list.
The list for the years 1841-1855 is incomplete. A manuscript version is available in the reading rooms at The National Archives, Kew, and should be consulted for subjects not appearing in the on-line list. Readers should note that the series number is not cited in the manuscript list. If a number cited in it has no letter prefix or is prefixed by the letters 'OS', the paper will be found in HO 45; if a number is prefixed by the letters 'OC' the paper will be found in HO 12. A few papers referred to in the manuscript list could not be identified in either HO 45 or HO 12 and so no reference could be cited in the on-line list.
The electronic list for HO 45 mostly retains the structure used in the Standard Set. However, whereas the Standard Set has seven blocks of files (each block corresponding to a date range) the electronic list currently has six blocks, the first two date ranges having been combined into one block. The six blocks in the electronic list each come under a heading corresponding to the date range. From the date range 1872-1878 onwards, the electronic list for each block is an amalgam of the block subject list and the block packing list as seen in the Standard Set. The files listed in the subject list come first. The subject headings used have been branched down to the level of the file description. The order of the Standard Set subject list has usually been maintained, with files listed under, for example, 'Aberdeen' coming before 'Accidents'. At the end of each block in the electronic list, and following the files once listed in the Standard Set subject list, come files without any description. They have been taken from the Standard Set packing list and are essentially references that could not be matched to a file description in the subject list. These files are arranged in numerical order.
Law officers' reports and other papers are in HO 48
Papers too bulky for filing ('Long Papers') are in HO 326
Duplicates of Naturalization Certificates are in HO 334
For pre-1940 files from the Home Office six-figure series, which were re-registered in the Ministry of Labour SHW series, see LAB 14
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