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Setting up an in-house Archive

Seeking Professional Advice

National Telephone Company switchboard operators. Image courtesy of BT Heritage.

National Telephone Company switchboard operators. Image courtesy of BT Heritage.

As a starting point you may wish to take some advice from professional bodies concerned with the management of business archives. As part of the National Strategy for Business Archives launched in May 2009, businesses are encouraged to seek help from public sector archivists on the storage and management of their company archives.

England and Wales

  • The National Archives – The National Archives has created the new post of Business Archives Advice Manager to advise companies on the care and development of their archives. The new manager is aware of collections management throughout the UK in both public and private sector archives and is able to help companies interested in getting some professional advice on record-keeping practice, archives storage or disposal and access arrangements. Contact Alex Ritchie for more information.

  • The Business Archives Council is a professional association that represents the interests of owners, users and custodians of archives generated by businesses. The majority of its Executive and membership are company employees with responsibility for archives and records management. They host this website and are happy to respond to queries from companies uncertain about what to do with their archive collections. They can offer advice, training and networking opportunities. Contact Karen Sampson for more information.

  • County and other regional record offices can offer a local solution for companies with a regional or local focus and significant archive collections. These record offices can be specialists in the management of business archives (for example accredited national centres for business archives) and may be in the best position to offer practical help and solutions. To find out how to contact local authority archivists in your area please check the ARCHON directory on The National Archives’ website in the first instance. Alternatively contact Alex Ritchie020 8392 5270.

  • Specialist archives - for example those maintained within universities, museums and libraries, charities and associations - can offer help for companies with a specialist or regional focus. The links below provide further information and include the on-line directory of archive repositories, ARCHON.

  • The National Library of Wales is primarily a repository for the national cultural history of Wales, but may provide advice to Welsh businesses, and in exceptional circumstances may acquire business and industrial records of particular significance to Wales. Contact Glyn Parry for more information.


  • The Business Archives Council of Scotland provides information and advice on archive and records management to businesses and industry bodies located in Scotland. The Surveying Officer can also help to set up records and archive management systems, and undertake projects involving historical research and the exploitation of archives as business assets. Working closely with colleagues at the Scottish Business Archive at Glasgow University and at the National Archives of Scotland, the Business Archives Council of Scotland also coordinates the rescue of archives when businesses cease to function. For more information visit their website at or contact the Surveying Officer (0141 330 4159) or by email.

Northern Ireland

  • As well as being the official place of deposit for Northern Ireland’s public records, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) accepts a wide range of archives from private sources. PRONI also advises on and promotes best practice in archive and records management. As well as accepting business records for deposit PRONI will provide guidance and assistance to businesses holding their own archives. Contact PRONI for more information.

Archive Professionals

Independent archive consultants can also undertake initial survey or cataloguing work to examine the potential of your collections and make recommendations. To reach archive specialists you can use the Archives and Records Association’s fortnightly recruitment newsletter – ARC recruitment - or more informally, send an email to the on-line professional network, ARCHIVES-NRA

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