Before 1906, when the Foreign Office's registry procedure was reorganised, the general correspondence passed to the Library when it was two years old and was there arranged for binding in a series of country series. A residue of material not relating to any one country and therefore not assignable to a specific country series makes up this 'Great Britain and General' series. With the change over to departmental series of subject files in 1906 the need for this series came to an end and it contains no records of a later date than 1905 except a collection of printed instructions, etc, to consuls and certain formal records of the Treaty and Royal Letter Department.
The series includes some volumes of correspondence of a miscellaneous nature, but the majority are 'cases', which are collections of papers on particular subjects, often covering several years, which have been retained in this form instead of being separated into their individual places within the various annual series of drafts, despatches, etc. These cases cover a wide range of subjects. Some relate to subjects of continuing interest over many years (often in sequences of several volumes); other deal with specific events or subjects of more short-lived interest; a considerable number are collections of answers to requests for information on a particular subject made of British ministers and consuls abroad for the benefit of Royal Commissions, Parliamentary Committees, other government departments, etc. They come from all departments of the Foreign Office except the Chief Clerk's and Slave Trade and African Departments.