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

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 The National Archives website: