Catalogue description Records of Accounting and Pay Departments

Details of Division within ADM
Reference: Division within ADM
Title: Records of Accounting and Pay Departments

Records of the Navy's accounting and pay departments.

Entry books of out-letters of the treasurer of the Navy are in ADM 15; his accounts are in ADM 16, his ledgers in ADM 20. Ships' pay books, formerly kept at the Navy Pay Office, are in ADM 33 - ADM 35

Navy Office accounting records include in-letters of the Ticket Office in ADM 14, Bill Office records in ADM 17 and ADM 18, minutes of the Committee of Accounts in ADM 106, journals and ledgers of the accountant-general in ADM 19 and ADM 21, and comptroller's and Ticket Office ship's pay books in ADM 31 and ADM 32

Records of the paymaster of widows' pensions are in ADM 22. Records of the accountant-general are in ADM 19, ADM 21, ADM 46 and ADM 47. Estimates are in ADM 7 and ADM 181

Records of various accounting departments relating to pay and pensions, etc are in ADM 22 - ADM 28, ADM 42 and ADM 43; see also Royal Greenwich Hospital and Paymaster General's Office. Wills and effects, etc papers are in ADM 44, ADM 45 and ADM 48, with registers in ADM 141, ADM 142 and ADM 154. Prize money and bounty records are in ADM 238. Medal rolls are in ADM 171. Lists of accounting bases during the War of 1939 to 1945 appear in ADM 187; those of minor war vessels of this period are in ADM 208. Miscellaneous accounts, registers and records are in ADM 17, ADM 30 and ADM 49

Date: 1615-1953
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Board of Admiralty, Accountant General's Department, 1832-1932

Board of Admiralty, Treasurer of the Navy, 1832-1835

Navy Board, Accountant General's Department, 1660-1832

Navy Board, Allotment Office, 1650-1796

Navy Board, Committee of Accounts, 1796-1830

Navy Board, Office of Bills and Accounts, 1642-1796

Navy Board, Office of Seamens Wages, 1650-1796

Navy Board, Ticket Office, 1692-1796

Navy Board, Treasurer of the Navy, 1546-1832

Navy Pay Office, 1546-1835

Physical description: 32 series
Administrative / biographical background:

Before 1832 accounts were dealt with by a number of officials and offices. The Treasurer of the Navy was the most ancient, originating in the reign of Henry VIII. The senior member of the Navy Board and originally responsible for all Navy accounts, he gradually withdrew during the seventeenth century from the Board's day-to-day affairs and his office, the Navy Pay Office, came to be regarded as entirely separate from the Navy Office. The Treasurer of the Navy survived the reorganisation of 1832, but his office was abolished in 1835 and his duties transferred to the Paymaster General's Office.

The Comptroller of the Navy, another ancient member of the Navy Board, was responsible for auditing the Treasurer's accounts, but as his own general control over the Navy Board became greater his concern with accounting became secondary and his functions in this respect were delegated to a Comptroller of Treasurer's accounts and to several subordinate offices, including the Office of Bills and Accounts, the Office of Seamen's Wages, the Allotment Office and the Ticket Office, where tickets for the wages of disabled, discharged or deceased seamen were examined. From 1796 the work of these various offices was co-ordinated to some extent by the Navy Board's Committee of Accounts, which was later replaced for the last few years of the Board's existence by an Accountant-General who was one of the principal officers of the Board.

Between 1715 and 1830, at least three sets of pay books were maintained for each ship in commission, recording the names of all officers and men aboard each vessel. They were kept at the Pay Office of the Treasurer of the Navy, at the Office of the Comptroller of the Navy, and at the Ticket Office.

Before 1832 the Admiralty did not have an accounting department, except the Office of the Paymaster of Widows' Pensions.

In the reorganisation of 1832 all the Navy Office accounting and pay departments were combined in a single department of the Admiralty under the direction of the Accountant General. He had a general responsibility to the parliamentary and financial secretary for naval accounts and in 1886 he became the parliamentary secretary's deputy and was entrusted with a share in the preparation of the estimates. The Accountant General's Department kept records of ships' establishments, of services of petty offices and seamen and of medals; it also dealt with seamen's wills and effects and the payment of prize money and bounty. His responsibilities for pay and pensions were exercised under the superintendence of the fourth sea lord. From 1921 he was responsible to the secretary, as accounting officer, for the general oversight of the expenditure of the Admiralty; in 1932 the post of accountant-general was abolished and his department merged in the Secretary's Department (703/3/2).

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