chapter  3
19 Pages

Displaced Archives in The National Archives of the United Kingdom

ByMandy Banton

This chapter presents an overview of those archival collections held in The National Archives of the UK (TNA) that can be identified as being 'displaced' as a result of varied acts of British imperialism. It chapter discusses historic displacements, detailing four examples collections held by TNA and its predecessor, the Public Record Office (PRO), for many years: records from Guiana, the Ionian Islands, Tangier and Wei-Hai-Wei. The chapter concerns the 'migrated archives' deposited at TNA in this present decade: colonial government records removed from British dependencies at 'end of empire'. It also reviews contemporary and more recent discussions within responsible UK government departments concerning the legitimacy of such removals, the legal status of the records vis-à-vis UK public records legislation and local archival practice, British responses to international initiatives for restitution, and the concealment of not only the records but knowledge of their very existence.