Catalogue description Metropolitan Police: Aliens Registration Office: Sample Record Cards

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Details of MEPO 35
Reference: MEPO 35
Title: Metropolitan Police: Aliens Registration Office: Sample Record Cards

This series contains the surviving aliens' registration cards for the London area. These represent some 1,000 cases out of the tens of thousands of aliens resident in London since 1914. Although the cards represent a small sample they do include some notable cases including Joe Coral the book maker (MEPO 35/16/2). There appears to be a heavy concentration of cases around the late 1930's, as Germans and east Europeans fled the Nazi persecutions. For example MEPO 35/29/4 consists of cards for Ernst Freud and his family.

The information provided on the cards includes full name, date of birth, date of arrival into the UK, employment history, address, marital status, details of any children, and date of naturalisation with the Home Office reference if applicable. The cards usually include at least one photograph and for most cases there are continuation cards. The covering dates indicate the period of time the individual was of alien status in the UK and obliged to register their details though the Aliens Order, 1960, which came into force on 1 January 1961. This paved the way for the abolition of the central register for all aliens with the exception of those who had a landing condition requiring them to leave the UK within a specified period.

Digital copies of selected Aliens’ registration cards 1918-1957 can be searched and downloaded.

Date: 1876-1991
Related material:

If the individual was naturalised then there will be links to naturalisation papers/certificates in HO 144, HO 334 and HO 405. Registers of aliens for areas outside London, where they survive, can be found locally either at County Record Offices or Police Archives. No central register of aliens survives, though for policy and administrative papers in respect of the register see:

HO 45/10831/326287

HO 45/11522/287235

For related certificates see HO 334

For applications for naturalisation see HO 405

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 104 file(s)
Access conditions: Available in digital format unless otherwise stated
Selection and destruction information: It is by chance that these cards have survived. Normally cards were destroyed ten years after an alien was naturalised, departed from the UK or died, whichever first applies.
Administrative / biographical background:

The requirement for aliens (the then legal term for immigrants to Britain) to register with the police was introduced under the provisions of the Aliens Registration Act 1914; it was renewed by the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act 1919 and the Immigration Act 1971. The legislation gave to the government the power to require such individuals to register with the police giving detailed particulars including name, address, marital status, employment or occupation, including employer's name and address, a photograph, and to pay a registration fee. A registered person was required also to register changes of address, marital status, nationality, and employment or occupation. In return the individual received a police certificate of registration.

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