Following the reorganisation on 8 June 1920, the system of registering all Treasury papers in a single numerical series each year was brought to an end. A separate registered file series was created for each of the three departments, with an additional General file series for subjects which were not adjustable to any single department. In addition to the F (for Finance), S (for Supply), E (for Establishments) and G (for General) file series, there was a fifth, P series, covered by the Superannuation Division in that Establishments Department for pensions and compensation case papers and for policy papers on superannuation questions generally.
The main feature of the new central registry system, which was in existence from 1920 until 1948, was that one file was created for the papers on each single subject, registered under its own number. Files were given numbers consecutively in each of the five series as they were opened, beginning with F1, S1 etc, the numbers having no subject significance of their own. When a file on a subject subsidiary to an existing main subject needed to be opened, it was given the number of the main subject file with a subnumber prefixed by zero, e.g. S25/01. Where a hierarchy of subsidiary subjects needed to be used, a succession of zero prefixed subnumbers could be given, e.g. Tramp shipping subsidy: acquisition of reserve tonnage: purchase of ships S 43887/04/02. If a file became too thick, it was divided into parts with subnumbers not preceded by zero, e.g. S 3732/1, S 3732/2.
The Treasury central registry maintained a subject index to each series, based on Main Headings, Subheadings and Divisions of subheadings, and the arrangement of the lists of T 160-T 162 is based on these headings and subheadings. The lists of T 163 and T 164 are arranged in chronological blocks, each first containing a block of the files opened and brought to an end between June 1920 and the end of 1930, followed by annual blocks of the files ended during each separate year from 1931 to 1948. Within each block the items are arranged in their original file number order. Files divided into parts, because of their size, have been kept together, although the parts are to be treated as separate pieces for the purposes of ordering.
In 1948 the Treasury registry system was decentralised and a separate registered file series created for each division. Files from these divisional series are now in T 213-T 228; T 231; T 233-T 237; T 245 and T 248-T 249. Files from the centralised file series which were still current were registered in the new divisional series. A copy is available in the Kew Search Department of the Treasury's numerical registers of the F, S and E series files which show which files have been destroyed, which transferred to the National Archives (giving the box number, which forms part of this present reference), and which carried forward into the post 1948 decentralised system (giving the Treasury's new divisional reference to the registered papers).
Although a new ES series of files was used by the Establishments Superannuation Division after 1948 (see T 248), the P series continued and T 164 runs on to 1970. It also contains a small number of files from the PC (for compensation cases and policy), PU (for university superannuation questions) and PS (for general superannuation questions) series.
An additional means of reference to the F, S and E files is provided by the Precedent Books, now forming T 211, in which were noted, under alphabetically arranged subject headings, the details of any important precedents recorded on a file, or of any major paper. In some cases the recording of the precedent in this way was taken as sufficient for the Treasury's own purposes, and files described in T 211 do not all now exist. Precedent Books for the Finance and Supply Departments exist for the years 1920 to 1930. The Establishments Department and the Finance Department's Accounts Clerk maintained Precedent Books for the whole period from 1920 to1948.
Those selected for preservation have been allocated piece numbers 240-336. The old box number is indicated at the end of each description as appropriate.