Talk:The National Archives (United Kingdom)

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new NRA template[edit]

I've recently created Template:NRA to link from wikipedia into the National Register of Archives. Comments very welcome!

I've also done some matching between individual persons in the National Register of Archives and wikipedia bios. One result of this is a list of individual people prominent in NRA who lack ODNB or wikipedia bios (though I've started stubbing them): if anyone's interested, I've put it up on my user page.Dsp13 (talk) 13:34, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

I think it's very useful. Well done! DrKiernan (talk) 10:23, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

singular or plural?[edit]

"The National Archives is..." or "The National Archives are..."? The latter seems more natural (not to say grammatical), but the present article is inconsistent, rendering the institution as singular and plural passim. - Tim riley (talk) 23:22, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

It's one institution, which holds many archives. I'll see if I can check what the house style is. David Underdown (talk) 10:20, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/whowhathow.htm?source=ddmenu_about1 uses is. David Underdown (talk) 16:52, 31 October 2009 (UTC)


Opening hours changes[edit]

Should this be mentioned - it is stated that this is due to budgetary cuts. Jackiespeel (talk) 16:23, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Refimprove tag / Start class rating[edit]

Can the ‘refimprove’ tag be removed now? It seems like there sufficient references to allow this to be removed. If there a couple of instances that require a citation then a ‘citation needed’ tag would be better at the appropriate point.

Also, surely this article is above a Start class. Deano8216 (talk) 11:13, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Flurry of undiscussed name changes[edit]

I see that this page has gone through a rapid series of name changes in the last six hours, thus far:

"The National Archives"
"National Archives (England and Wales)"
"The National Archives (United Kingdom)"
"The National Archives (England and Wales)"
"The National Archives (United Kingdom)" (again!)
"The National Archives (United Kingdom Government)"

I can't help but feel there is a degree of politicking to this, and it is self-evident that there really should be some discussion and - hopefully - consensus over what we should actually be using. Editors are politely requested to remove any relevant chips from shoulders beforehand. Nick Cooper (talk) 09:33, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

The issues are
  • (1) does the article need to be disambiguated from the original title The National Archives
  • (2) which disambiguator to use
  • (3) should the article name contain the definitive article.
Tim! (talk) 09:51, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
  • (1) yes
  • (2) (England and Wales)
  • (3) no
--Mais oui! (talk) 10:38, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

:: This archive includes the records of the UK-wide departments whose remit includes Scotland and Northern Ireland and which have not been devolved.[1] Therefore:

  • (1) yes.
  • (2) (United Kingdom government) (No need for upper-case 'G')
  • (3) yes. Again, that's part of its official name. See URL above.
Harumphy (talk) 10:51, 23 January 2011 (UTC) Please see amended comments below. --Harumphy (talk) 12:10, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
re point 2 how can "(England and Wales)" be appropriate for a UK government archive?
re point 3 a one word answer no without further explanation is unhelpful. I agree with Harumphy on point 3. Tim! (talk) 10:58, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
My own opinion:
(1) On the balance of evidence, no, given that "the building in Kew" is the only body listed on List of national archives that includes the definitive article. No other archive in the world seems to call itself "The National Archive" so the one in Kew has a legitimate claim to a page of that name.
(2) n/a, as per (1) but see below.
(3) Clearly, yes.
Although the Archive's own website states it is, "UK government's official archive," it is beyond dispute that it is also the national archive for England and Wales, but it self-evidently also contains many items of non-governmental origin, many of which are not restricted to England and Wales, e.g. railways company records. "The National Archives (United Kingdom Government)" is not enough, and neither is "The National Archives (England and Wales)," but obviously it would be ridiculous to go for something more descriptively accurate like "The National Archive (United Kingdom government, England and Wales, and certain other non-governmental United Kingdom things)". Nick Cooper (talk) 11:36, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
In view of Nick Cooper's observations, I've changed my mind to:
(1) No
(2) None
(3) Yes. --Harumphy (talk) 12:07, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
I would be happy with Nick Cooper's suggested solution. Tim! (talk) 12:11, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

I suggest we call the article The National Archives (for England, Wales and the United Kingdom) - this is consistent with TNA's own wording at [1] Headhitter (talk) 14:50, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

The problem there is that the United Kingdom part is appropriate for some things, but not others, and - as I suggested above - it would be unwieldy to try to describe which bits are which in the page name itself. It is, however, the only national archive which, in the English language includes the definitive article in its name, so really we'd be best goign back to where we were in the first place. Nick Cooper (talk) 18:55, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

There have been no further comments in the last 24 hours, so I'll summarise:

  • National Archives (England and Wales) has one supporter
  • The National Archives (for England, Wales and the United Kingdom) has one supporter
  • The National Archives has three supporters and was the name before the 'flurry' of moves of a couple of days ago.

Therefore it's pretty clear what should happen. Is there an admin here who can remove the redirect and restore the original name? --Harumphy (talk) 20:38, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done and Move protected. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:14, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Page moved to The National Archives (United Kingdom). Clearly there was consensus for moving, what was at issue was the target. The National Archives (United Kingdom) has the most support and also matched well with The National Archives (UK) which is a redirect with a significant number of links. Having said that, if further discussion on a better name is needed, this close does not prevent it. Vegaswikian (talk) 00:55, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

The National ArchivesThe National Archives (England and Wales) — I noticed the posting about this on the Administrators' Noticeboard for Incidents and I have to share the concern of several editors there that the present title is not correct. It is not clear to me that this national archive is unambiguously "The National Archives" even in the United Kingdom, let alone elsewhere. I propose that the content at this page be moved to The National Archives (England and Wales) or another suggested title (I am open to debate, but please focus first on whether the content should be at this title), that The National Archives be made a redirect to List of national archives, and that any other problems be first solved by the liberal application of redirects rather than by moving many pages back and forth repeatedly. I know I cannot enforce the last point, but I hope that discussion here will at least endorse it. Because the recent spate of moves probably confounds attempts to notify all parties with an interest in this, I will be adding a notice to {{cent}} as well as the normal Requested Moves listing. Thanks in advance for conducting this discussion civilly. Gavia immer (talk) 00:24, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

  • Support: There are too many similarly named National Archives articles and there is no clear primary topic. –CWenger (talk) 00:37, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support clear systemic bias at present, difficult to believe this is the only National Archives in the world. PatGallacher (talk) 01:46, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
It appears to be the only one that calls itself "The National Archives". Nick Cooper (talk) 14:04, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support This be at The National Archives (England and Wales) and its place a Discombobulation page here. I think Library of Congress (American) also has a "national archives." The Resident Anthropologist (talk) 02:30, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
We have a National Archives and Records Administration that was formerly called "The National Archives", and their most important building is called the "National Archives building". Technically it's not "The National Archives" anymore, but that's still a common term. In general, though, there are just a lot of "national archives", which is why we have a full-fledged list rather than a short diambiguation page - it is not a US/UK issue, regardless of whether some editors might perceive it that way. Gavia immer (talk) 03:16, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I don't really have a strong opinion on this, but I would note there is a hatnote on the current article directing users to List of national archives. At a glance it appears this is the only one called The National Archives. Most of the others have a "National Archive of ...whoever" format. Beeblebrox (talk) 04:48, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support At first, I was tempted to suggest a National Archives of... title for consistency with other articles. A closer look causes me to fully support the suggested title with the disambiguation qualifier. The term The National Archives should link to the list to aid searchers in finding the one they want as National Archives does now. I note that in the list, this article is qualified with a United Kingdom link to disambiguate it. The disambiguation should be in the title. WTucker (talk) 05:01, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment (added later) After seeing the discussions below, I felt a need to clarify my position. I don't care what qualifier is used to disambiguate the title (within reason), (England and Wales), (United Kingdom) or whatever. It needs a disambiguation qualifier of some kind to make room so that The National Archives can redirect to the list. WTucker (talk) 13:40, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Is it really necessary to list this on WP:CENT? This isn't some policy discussion with far-reaching consequences, just a fairly mundane move discussion. Beeblebrox (talk) 05:22, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I went ahead and de-listed it per Wikipedia:CENT#Guidance, which specifies that this is not the sort of thing CENT is for. It's been crowded lately, we don't need every last discussion on Wikipedia listed there. Beeblebrox (talk) 05:26, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
You edit-conflicted with me leaving a comment to the effect that you could remove it if you wished. It's all good. Gavia immer (talk) 05:40, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: Like National Archives, The National Archives is ambiguous Purplebackpack89 05:33, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose England and Wales as disambiguator. This is the archive for the government of the United Kingdom, so any new title should contain United Kingdom instead. Tim! (talk) 07:19, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support move to The National Archives (England and Wales), per nom. Simply placing the definite article before a term is not sufficient to disambiguate it. I note that "The Monarch" is not a redirect to Monarch of the United Kingdom, and nor is "The Government" a redirect to Government of the United Kingdom. Other comedy examples available on request. I could pretty much write an essay about what the fact that this debate is necessary says about the English national psyche, but I will refrain, for now. --Mais oui! (talk) 07:27, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose move to the "England and Wales" disambiguator per User:Tim! This is clearly the National Archives for the whole of the UK - pages from the official site such as this one and this one show that it includes records relevant to Scotland and Northern Ireland as well. Just because Scotland has its own National Archives does not mean it is not included in the UK one.
That comment was unsigned. This is most certainly not "the National Archives for the whole of the UK", and Wikipedia would be grossly negligent if it attempted to misrepresent it as such. This is the ongoing national archive of the Kingdom of England (which, of course, included Wales). It has been added to by the central government in London since the Union, but it has never been the main repository for Scottish and Northern Irish records. I am not familiar with how archives from Ireland (1801-1921) are dealt with. Presumably they are still in Dublin? --Mais oui! (talk) 10:14, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
The comment was unsigned because linked to the subcomment below. Apologies for the confusion.
Regarding your point, our job at Wikipedia is to report on the world not to try to interpret it. WP:NOR and all that. The NA website clearly states that it is the archive for the UK government not England and Wales, so that's how we should refer to it. Cheers  — Amakuru (talk) 10:43, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support move to The National Archives (United Kingdom)
     — Amakuru (talk) 08:00, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose proposed move; it's the UK National Archives. I don't mind United Kingdom as a disambiguator if one must be used. DrKiernan (talk) 08:08, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose proposed name. Support move to The National Archives (United Kingdom)--Harumphy (talk) 09:15, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment: a difficult one, not helped by the constitutional position of the body. Although an arm of the government of the United Kingdom, it is now concerned with the records of England and Wales. According to WP:NC-GAL, as an agency of the Government of the United Kingdom, it should be pre-disambiguated at The National Archives (United Kingdom) anyway. I'd feel most comfortable with this, with a hatnote to List of national archives that specifically mentions the separate agencies for Scotland & NI. I feel like the guideline is there for a reason and unless there's an outstandingly good reason we shouldn't go against it. So I guess that's a support for The National Archives (United Kingdom). ninety:one 12:47, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Storng oppose: As already noted, The National Archives (England and Wales) is misleading, because the organisation's remit covers the whole of the United Kingdom in a number of areas (I suspect that some editors should read Terminology of the British Isles to fully understand the issues at play here). The National Archives (United Kingdom) is more appropriate, but I acknowledge that residents or advocates of Scotland and/or Northern Ireland will object to this on political grounds, and the fact that in certain areas they have their own separate archive bodies. I don't think it's hyperbole to suggest that this is the library equivalent of the long-standing Derry/Londonderry schism! Nick Cooper (talk) 13:59, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Move to a descriptive title rather than the present uninformative one. There are at least 74 "National Archives" as shown in List of national archives. In a UK newspaper, or a US newspaper, a casual reference to "the National Archive" might be understood to refer to that nations own repository, but the present title is inappropriate in a world encyclopedia. This is true even if the official title of this one is "The National Archives." Wikipedia uses the most common name, not an "official name." Thios institution dates back only to 2003, per the article. "The National Archives" weas used in newspapers to refer to the US institution thousands of times from 1935 to 2000: [2]. Edison (talk) 21:44, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support The National Archives (United Kingdom) Given the number of archives worldwide a move is appropriate but disambiguation should likely be by country. --Labattblueboy (talk) 00:26, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose nom but Support move to The National Archives (United Kingdom). I am not clear how many other countries use the name prefixed with "The" (which is part of the title of the Kew repository). If the name is unique the article might be at The National Archives with a capnote redirecting to a list article National archives (this capitalisation) for a list for all countries. The repository covers governmental functions for the whole United Kingdom, since the unions with Scotland and Ireland, as well as for England and Wales before 1707, so that the UK disambiguator is appropriate. Peterkingiron (talk) 18:01, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
    • How utterly unimpressive is a capital "T" in "The National Archives," when the one in the US has orders of magnitudes more refs over a 75 year period as "the National Archives" with a lower case "t". This is as silly as claiming that "The Queen" only refers to "Queen Elizabeth II." Edison (talk) 05:15, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Whether you're "impressed" or not is immaterial. The US National Archives did not have "The" as part of its official name, the one in the West of London does. Also, why do you think it's valid to compare 75 years against eight? Nick Cooper (talk) 13:44, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

What do people feel about closing this nomination and reopening it as a three way choice between the status quo, The National Archives (England and Wales) and The National Archives (United Kingdom)? We would obviously notify anyone who's already voted so they can restate their opinion.

I can well see the need to make the move, but I don't like the proposed new title as it is inaccurate, and the debate is in danger of getting muddied by that. Also, the early "Supports" above may have been made without considering the secondary issue. Cheers  — Amakuru (talk) 08:40, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Good idea.--Harumphy (talk) 08:57, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Bad idea. The primary purpose of the move discussion is to see if there's consensus to have the page at The National Archives. If you think it should not be there, that is what you should say. Splitting this into multiple move requests, or starting over, will tend to end with "no consensus on a move" and the page will not be moved, so if you don't want that to happen then you should not cause it to happen by confounding the move request. You can just state your preference for a different title instead. Gavia immer (talk) 09:13, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately the discussion isn't about consensus to keep the existing name, it's seeking consensus for a move to an inaccurate disambiguator - a consensus which it clearly isn't getting. There might be consensus for a better disambiguator. That's why it's a good idea.--Harumphy (talk) 09:22, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Exactly. At present the request is gathering several oppose votes from people who otherwise support a move, which in itself endangers your overarching desire to see it moved. The scenario as I see it at present is that the move above will go ahead but we'll then have a second RM to move it on to the UK version. That seems long winded when we could just split the options now and avoid opposes. — Amakuru (talk) 10:35, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
The purpose of the RM is to seek consensus on an article name, new or old. I hope no admin would close it as move when it seemed possible that the consensus was going to be for a different name which had been proposed during the discussion and so missed out on some early votes. The question is, how best to go now to make it easy for the closing admin to determine the decision? I don't think it would be canvassing to contact these early voters on their talk pages, once a decision is made as to exactly how to ask them to vote for an alternative proposal has been made. We have a few days still, and can relist if that seems not long enough. Andrewa (talk) 01:32, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Please don't break the requested move discussion. I asked everyone to say clearly whether they preferred the page to be at this title or not, and the closer of the requested move discussion can decide what the consensus is on that question. If the page is moved, and you don't like the title the page was moved to, then you can open a separate move discussion after this one closes. Gavia immer (talk) 02:13, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
It's not necessary to raise a separate RM if this one arrives at a consensus on a third name not mentioned in the original proposal. It happens all the time. Please remember that your admins are volunteers too, and we'd like to spend our time as productively as possible. So if that's what you mean by break the requested move discussion, I'd have to say please do. Andrewa (talk) 03:21, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Right now, I don't think a closing admin would be able to make the move to The National Archives (England and Wales) - it has a few supports, but there's also a lot of support for the alternative title. So although there's clear consensus for a move, the closing admin would not be in a position to decide which title to move to. I agree with Andrewa that we should attempt to refactor the debate and get all interested parties back in. It's going nowhere at present.  — Amakuru (talk) 11:59, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

I know we should avoid WP:POLL, but out of interest the tallies are currently as follows:

  • Support (not clear on target or voted before extended discussion): 7 votes (Gavia immer, CWenger, PatGallacher, The Resident Anthropologist, WTucker, Purplebackpack89, Edison)
  • Support (clearly to England and Wales): 1 votes (Mais oui!)
  • Support (clearly to United Kingdom): 5 votes (Amakuru, Harumphy, ninety:one, Labattblueboy, Peterkingiron)
  • Neutral (but favour move to United Kingdom if a move must be made): 3 votes (Tim!, DrKiernan, Nick Cooper)
  • Neutral (completely neutral): 1 vote (Beeblebrox)
  • Oppose move altogether: 0 votes

Not sure what interpretation to make from this, but those appear to be the figures. Correct me if I've made a mistake anywhere.  — Amakuru (talk) 18:22, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

I've moved Gavia immer to Support (not clear on target) as that's evident from his opening remarks at the start.--Harumphy (talk) 18:51, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

None of these options is correct. If a descriptor needs to be added, the title should read: The National Archives (for England, Wales and the United Kingdom). The National Archives holds records for England and Wales both before and after the Acts of Union with Scotland and Ireland - e.g. it holds records of the Welsh Assembly - but records for Scotland and Northern Ireland are held elsewhere. It also holds records of the UK government and some other UK records. Headhitter (talk) 12:21, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Isn't that just guaranteed to further confuse those who don't understand the difference between the constitutent parts of the United Kingdom already? Nick Cooper (talk) 13:50, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
The sole purpose of the disambiguator is to disambiguate. United Kingdom does just that. And this archive includes records relating to all parts of the UK. The devolved departments' stuff may be elsewhere, granted, but a great many Whitehall departments still cover all of the UK and their records are still at Kew.--Harumphy (talk) 14:05, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Project to encourage cooperation between The National Archives and Wikipedia[edit]

Anyone interested is welcome to get involved at Wikipedia:GLAM/TNA! Dsp13 (talk) 15:44, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

"Your Archives" wiki closing down?[edit]

I just went to that site and I see:

Important Announcement
Planned closure of Your Archives in 2012

and that "we should focus our attentions on adding some of the functionality of Your Archives into the Discovery service, which will soon replace our online Catalogue."

Should not some mention of this be made on the page? I will not do it, because I know too little about the site (having only just discovered it ten minutes ago!) to speak intelligently - please, someone "in the know" attend to this - thanks. — Martha (talk) 18:22, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Why the name change?[edit]

Surprisingly, I see from this article that the National Archives only came into being in 2003: 'The National Archives was created in 2003 by combining the Public Record Office and the Historical Manuscripts Commission'. I had thought that the National Archives of Ireland followed the English name change but according to that article it came into being in 1988, when the State Paper Office and the Public Record Office of Ireland merged. Why did it take so long for the British to do the merge and what was the crucial factor in the merge finally happening? 89.101.41.216 (talk) 18:52, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

I can't answer definitively (i.e. with references), but the story runs roughly as follows. In the early 19th century, when the PRO was established, the word "archives" barely existed in English – and when it was used was regarded as a bit foreign – so the new establishment was called the Record Office. (There was a technical distinction between "records" and "state papers", but from the start the Public Record Office had responsibility for them both – whereas in Ireland the distinction was maintained, and resulted in two separate establishments, which finally merged when the distinction had become an absurd anomaly.) The words "archives" and "archivist" grew in popularity through the 20th century, and in the mid-to-late 1980s (I think) there was a seriously-considered proposal to rename the institution the National Archives, but this was eventually dropped. The reasons included objections from Scotland (on the grounds that the name smacked of English cultural imperialism, in that the "nation" in question was the UK, whereas some Scottish state archives, at least, remained in Scotland); and perhaps concerns about confusion with the National Archives of other countries. Meanwhile, however, from the early 1980s onwards the PRO had begun to position itself as the lead institution of the archives profession and archives network in the UK, non-governmental as well as governmental, and this led eventually in 2003 to the merger with the Historical Manuscripts Commission (which was concerned with non-government archives). In institutional terms this marked a significant change of direction and outlook for the PRO, and the opportunity was taken to make the name change, the previous objections having faded away. GrindtXX (talk) 21:18, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
Excellent, very interesting and enlightening summary, GrindtXX. Thanks so much. 89.101.41.216 (talk) 12:45, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Photos - white gloves[edit]

Two of the photos used in this article, "A manuscript and seals ..." and "A researcher at the archives", although striking images, are misleading, in that they show researchers handling parchment documents with white gloves. This is NOT institutional policy (except in the case of highly delicate materials, such as photographs: parchment is one of the most robust of materials), and is now discouraged by TNA, both in its own reading rooms and more generally, in that it is likely to lead to clumsy handling and greater risk of physical damage. See here and here. It used to be the case that TNA stipulated glove-wearing when documents were being shown on TV, and I imagine the policy also applied to still photos used for publicity such as these (they both appear to have been supplied by an in-house source). However, that policy was abandoned in 2013: see here. Can anyone come up with some alternative images that don't show white gloves? (There are a couple of possibilities on Commons, but they're not very exciting, and are also out of date, as the reading rooms have been refurbished and the furniture changed.) GrindtXX (talk) 13:52, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/who-we-are.htm