Catalogue description Home Office: Daily Registers of Correspondence

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Details of HO 46
Reference: HO 46
Title: Home Office: Daily Registers of Correspondence

This series consists of registers of letters received by the Home Office. Between 1841 and 1871 letters and papers were numbered consecutively as they were received, starting afresh at 1 on 1 January each year. The registers record the date and sender of the papers, and the assignment within the Office to one of the departments. The first year recorded completely is 1849, but the first two pieces in this series (HO 46/1A-1B) are registers retrospectively compiled covering the years 1841 to 1848. They are arranged alphabetically by subject or sender and show the Old Series (OS) number for each paper. (see following paragraph).

Accompanying all of the daily registers of the period 1849-1871 are registers of special subjects, alphabetically arranged, an index to the daily register by correspondents, and, usually, a register of papers preserved. When papers were preserved they were given an OS (Old Series) number, different from the original registration number. The OS numbers are marked in the registers. Preserved papers of the period 1841-1871 will be found in HO 45. The OS number is used as the piece number for purposes of ordering these items.

Until 30 January 1852 criminal papers were entered in the same daily registers as domestic papers, but between then and 1871 a separate series of criminal registers was in use, which now forms the series HO 14, and the surviving criminal papers for that period are in HO 12

Preserved papers raised between 1871 and 1949 will be found in HO 45 and HO 144, as will six figure series files running on beyond 1949 in HO 45. Entries in the daily registers of that period are classified under various subjects arranged alphabetically, and relate to both domestic and criminal correspondence.

Date: 1841-1957

As a result of the recommendations of the Knatchbull-Hugessen Committee of 1870, which investigated the organisation of the Home Office, a Common Registry was established on 9 April 1871, and all incoming papers were allotted a new series of plain numbers running from 1 to 100,000: by the end of 1880 the series had reached 99,798. On 12 December 1880 a new system of consecutive numbers was begun, prefixed A; in 1883 prefixes X and V were added and in 1885 B. The prefixes were supposed to denote the intended life-span of the file, but in practice this theory appears to have broken down. The system continued in force until 31 August 1902, when the A series had reached 63,599, the B series 38,884, the X series 87,193, and the V series 42,759.

In 1902 a system of registering files under a plain number series was introduced, starting at 100,001. This was known as the 'six-figure series', and was replaced in 1949 by the 'symbol series', although live six figure series continued to be added to until the early 1960s in some cases. The series reached 972,229.

From 1871 (HO 46/48 onwards) the registers for each year are divided into subject cuts. In the series list the arrangement of the cuts among the volumes is shown simply by their alphabetical range or by the titles of the first and last cut in each volume. The use of the subject cuts did not follow a constant pattern and appended to this note is guidance on the subject cuts used at particular periods of time.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 389 volume(s)

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