The records listed below are copies of accounts (and other documents such as reports etc.) of local charities required by law to be submitted annually to the Charity Commissioners.
In the final sorting, the remaining documents were arranged by parish and by charity in alphabetical order, so that each parish has a number (e.g. Ampthill is CHAR1), and each charity (or group of charities) has a sub-number (e.g. Ampthill, Bryant's Charity is CHAR1/1). Gaps have been left for future accessions, as it is intended that the list should be revised and updated to include subsequent deposits from the same source.
The Commissioners' files were originally transferred to the Public Record Office, but being deemed unsuitable for permanent preservation they were offered for transfer to local Record Offices in 1983.
Initially the documents were listed as received, and on completion of the preliminary listing the draft lists were arranged by parish in alphabetical order. The original list giving details of the whole deposit as received (including Charity Commission/Public Record Office box numbers) has been given the number CHAR0, and it is stored with the documents.
Selection and destruction information:
Under the terms of transfer, the recipient repositories were authorised to weed the material as appropriate and to destroy any unwanted documents. On examination of the Bedfordshire documents it was found that in many cases they contained information which was already available from other classes of material held in the County Record Office, and so it was decided to reduce the bulk of the Charity Commission accumulation by about 80% and to retain only a sample.
Next, the documents were weeded and packed for storage, the sample for each Charity for retention being made on the basis of keeping every fifth year (based on Census years) together with the first and last documents of each complete run. Thus where accounts for 1903-1927 and 1939-1955 were originally received, those for 1903, 1906, 1911, 1916, 1921, 1926, 1927, 1939, 1941, 1946, 1951, and 1955 will have been kept (i.e. bulk reduced from 40 to 12).