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Finding Aid to the Archive of the Companies Registration Office, 1844-1951
BANC MSS Z-G 1 FILM  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Agency History
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Archive of the Companies Registration Office
    Date (inclusive): 1844-1951
    Collection Number: BANC MSS Z-G 1 FILM
    Creators : Great Britain. Board of Trade.
    Extent: Number of containers: 542 microfilm reels : negative (Index: Rich. 818:3; key: Rich. 636:12; collection: Rich. 121:1-184:3) and positive.
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: Selected documents concerning the organization and activities of limited companies interested in the North American West.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    FOR REFERENCE USE ONLY. Reproduction prohibited. Requests for copies or permission to publish should be directed to the owners of the originals.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Archive of the Companies Registration Office (Great Britain Board of Trade), BANC MSS Z-G 1 FILM, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.
    Additional Notes on Collection:
    Photographed at the Companies Registration Office, Bush House, London, from originals in various English repositories. Both positive and negative film is included.

    Related Collections

    Archive of the Companies Registration Office, 1856-1951 (Scotland) (BANC MSS Z-G 2 FILM)
    Dissolved companies files (BANC MSS Z-G 3 FILM)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Finance--Great Britain

    Agency History

    The Companies Registration Office, England, had its origin in 1856 with the passage of one of the first of the Companies Acts. It contains the richest single collection of American economic history materials in Great Britain. The Bancroft Library has filmed the papers of those organizations operating in Western and Central America and Mexico during the latter half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The records filmed are miscellaneous and among other issues they include colonization, railroads, and land speculation.
    Contained in this office are the official corporate records of each joint stock (public or private) company founded in England and Wales (as well as an index for those in Ireland and Scotland) since 1856, together with those of companies in existence in 1856 and which continued to operate thereafter. Included are all companies regardless of their location of business— whether in North or South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, or the various maritime areas. The law required (with but few vital alterations except for additional information required) the filing of:
    • Memorandum of Association (names of founders, purposes and reasons for association).
    • Articles of Incorporation (similar to those in the United States but in much greater detail and giving much information as to operational procedure to be followed).
    • By-laws.
    • Annual financial statement and complete annual list of stockholders (of each and every type of security issued) showing name of such stockholder, residence address, profession, craft, trade, or specific employment, stock held, amount paid, annual charges.
    • All charges in corporate structure, officers, addresses, by-laws, reduction or increases in capital, new security issues, balance sheets after 1909, copies of official meeting calls, and court orders.
    • Voluntary windup notices, appointments and reports of closing officials or receivers, and final reports.
    All papers of the some 360,000 companies recorded since the founding of the office are intact and filed in numerical sequence. Each company file is contained in one ore more string binders with each document therein containing in addition to the company number, the sequence number of the document in the particular file. On the inside cover of each binder is a summary sheet listing by title the documents contained therein.
    Records of chartered companies previous to 1856 are kept by the special office at Hayes, Middlesex, and few records of such companies are found in the Companies Registration Office unless the company continued to do business after 1856. The Bancroft Library has filmed a few of the papers from Hayes. Chartered companies were not required to submit reports or statements. There is an index of these on reel 40.
    It is possible to trace from the records in this office a large part (and probably the most significant portion) of English economic penetration in every part of the world. Since all English companies, regardless of their position on the Stock Exchange, while of vital importance—and sometimes of greater importance for those companies whose securities were on the exchange—are secondary to those at Bush House. The researcher can investigate English corporations in any country, region, or continent, or any type of business, and by correlation of the Bush House records with those found in the archives of the Stock Exchange can frequently assemble an excellent picture of corporate operations.
    The records in this office are only for companies organized in England and Wales. Those for companies founded in Scotland and Ireland are located in separate companies registration offices in Edinburgh and Dublin.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection contains selected documents concerning the organization and activities of limited companies interested in Western and Central America and Mexico during the latter half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The records filmed are miscellaneous and among other issues they include colonization, railroads, and land speculation.
    The microfilm includes an alphabetical index of the companies, a key to reels 1-411 and 1/F-83/F, and an index pamphlet printed by the Companies Registration Office, which is available on reel 59.