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Sustaining the Archive - Modern Records Management

Best Practice regarding the Acquisition and Disposal of the Archives of Subsidiary Companies (UK and Overseas)

Barings' staff dining room, 1960s. Image courtesy of The Baring Archive.

Barings' staff dining room, 1960s. Image courtesy of The Baring Archive.

The archives of your business not only illustrate your company’s history, but may also tell the story of the community in which it operates and the people that it employed. For that reason, when businesses relocate or fail there may be an interest in keeping the records locally for research purposes, either in a county or city records office or in a university or community archive. This local interest is ignored when:

  • the archives are destroyed as the new parent company does not value them, or regards them as an ongoing financial liability
  • the archives are relocated and potential local access is lost
  • the archives are transferred overseas

To mitigate against these risks, companies are encouraged to apply the
following Best Practice principles:

1. Before any business archives are destroyed (because of closure or relocation) the company should contact a local public-sector archive to get advice on their historical interest. Record office archivists may survey records in situ, and can subsequently offer to store, manage and preserve records in the long-term. For advice on location and contact details for local archive services contact the following agencies:

2. If business archives are to be removed from a geographical area they ‘belong to’ due to a company relocation, the company may consider copying or reproducing archives and depositing them with local archive services so that information that may have research potential isn’t lost from the locality.

3. Business archives are subject to export control. Further details may be found on Museums Libraries and Archives website:

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