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pete-c

Historians and the PRO.

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pete-c

We are all very fortunate in being able to access TNA to look up records pertaining to WW1 but, pre 1968, how much material was available to aviation historians, (Walter Raleigh, H.A. Jones etc.) and where would they have accessed it, in order for them to produce such works as The War in the Air?

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Ron Clifton

I think that it is likely that the PRO returned documents temporarily to the Air Ministry, which provided office and storage facilities for the historians, although as the PRO was still in Chancery Lane, it is possible that they consulted them there.

 

Historians are often able to consult documents at the PRO/TNA which are not yet open for public access. One example is Judge Anthony Babington, who was allowed to consult the court-martial papers for his book "For the Sake of Example", on condition that he did not mention any individual names.

 

Ron

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David_Underdown

Ron, that used to be the case, but FOI pretty much introduced an open to one, open to all rule, plus the strengthened data protection legislation now in place means that such privileged access is now far less likely to occur.  Though documents can still be recalled by their originating department (or successor body), so it's possible that (for example) someone actually employed by MoD to write an official history could get access that way.

Edited by David_Underdown

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David_Underdown

Also recall that it was only the Public Records Act 1958 (following the Grigg report) that introduced the 50 year rule, essentially requiring that papers were actually selected for permanent preservation and transferred to the PRO (or destroyed) 50 years after the file was closed for further entries.  Prior to that departments could transfer if they wished, but there was no obligation and no set time period.  The 1957 Act reduced that to the familiar 30 year rule - and we are now in transition to a 20 year rule.

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voltaire60

.

Edited by voltaire60

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David_Underdown

Yes, that ws partly what I was trying to say. Until the passing of the 58 Act, there was no compulsion to transfer at all, and very little had.  The war diaries show this in part. From memory the boxes still bear the labels saying "For opening in 1968", essentially in line with 50 year rule, and then the 1967 amendment which meant they became open on 1 January 1968 since already past 30 years.

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pete-c

Thank you chaps. 

 

So, just to get this clear in my mind, in the case of a TNA file marked, 'Closed until 1969', this stipulation would have been applied when the file was transferred from the Air Ministry to the PRO.  Prior to that, when these documents were still held by the Air Ministry, the 'Official Historian' would have been able to access them for research purposes.  Is that it in a nutshell?

 

 

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voltaire60
 

 

       .

Edited by voltaire60

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pete-c

 

 

19 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

 

   

 

      Lets face it folks, we are all grateful to TNA for  what we have to play with.  But if a daily newspaper  was found to have tried to manipulate information  in the same way that government does with its records, then it would be shouted down and put out of business.

    Every user of stuff at Kew must,must,must realise that we live in times of Managed History, not just Managed News. We get to play only with what government wants us to play with.

 

Ron, David and voltaire,

 

Many thanks indeed for your enlightening comments. 

 

Peter.

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David_Underdown

Closures (and retentions) are approved by the Advisory Council (chaired by the Master of the Rolls). Currently they are basically the application of the various permitted exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act (most commonly that the file contains personal data).  Prior to the implementation of the FOI Act the mechanism was the "Lord Chancellor's Instrument" (as the 1958 Act gave ministerial supervision of the PRO to the Lord Chancellor, the starting point of the closure period is the file date.  Details on LCIs, FOI exemptions etc that have been applied to records can be seen in Discovery, at least where they existed after the existence of PROCAT. The full history may not be shown for older records.

 

The default position is that records will be transferred open.

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ss002d6252

Can we please keep the discussion on WW1 and policy that leads with documents related to that, please.


Craig

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