Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Business Archives are important because....

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Why are business archives important to you?

We know that they are important to businesses as they provide evidence of business activity and also the relationship businesses have with their staff and the communities in which they are based. They are also an important element of local and national heritage because of the central role that business and the economy plays in our lives.

We'd like to know why you think business archives are important? Do they enable you to research new areas, have you been able to connect with a different aspect of your family history through business archives? Perhaps business archives help you to promote your brand in today's market or have been the inspiration for a new product.

Please have a think and use the comments section below to tell us how you use business archives and why you think they are important. To comment click on the link below or here.


Dr Mark Freeman 17 September 2009 at 14:23  

Business archives are important to me because of my academic research. In collaboration with two colleagues, I have undertaken an extensive survey of business records, in repositories across the UK and Ireland, to support a major research project on the early history of corporate governance.

Focusing on the period before c.1850, we have considered constitutional and procedural records, and produced what is probably the most extensive survey of the early corporate economy ever undertaken for Britain and Ireland.

The archival holdings relating to well over 500 companies - including around 100 in Scotland alone - have been the mainstay of this project. Whereas much earlier research has been based on statute law and published sources, as well as legal documents, we have obtained many essential insights from our interactions with business records themselves. These enable us to consider the impact of legal and political change on the practices of individual companies, and to trace evolving practices and cultures within individual firms. Of course, many business historians have used the records of individual companies to write institutional histories, or histories of particular economic sectors; however, for us the value of business archives lies in the range and variety of companies whose records have survived in diverse repositories across Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Doubtless many other users of business archives will have a different focus from us. Indeed, one of the things that I have noticed while undertaking this large research project is the range of alternative uses to which the material could be put, and the amount of additional records that our own research has not even touched.

Chris Paton 30 September 2009 at 11:13  

As a student doing the postgrad genealogical studies course at Strathclyde in 2007 I studied the records of the Weavers Incorporation of Perth, held in private hands but catalogued through NRAS. I started with the premise that I would like to find out more about the industry as my ancestors from Perth were all handloom weavers, and to create a genealogical database. What was interesting was the fact that none of ancestor appeared in the records at all, which soon led me to understand the collapse of Incorporation's influence as a dominant trade guild for the industry in the late 1770s early 1800s. I am now transcribing all the records as a valuable family history resource - they list apprenticeships, journeymen bookings, bonds, punishments (one guy went to prison twice bcause his wife "abused the Deacon" verbally!), and more, including a little paranoia from the Incorporation as market forces saw their role diminishing.

Chris Paton

About This Blog

This blog will provide information about the development of a National Strategy for Business Archives in Scotland. It will also be used to provide general updates about Business Archives in Scotland.

This blog is written by Kiara King, the Ballast Trust archivist. Updates on the Data Mapping Project are written by Cheryl Brown, project officer.


The Business Archives Strategy for Scotland was published in August, read it here. Keep an eye on the blog for more news about business archives and the strategy's implementation.

You can also contact us at any time with thoughts and contribute your comments to the blog!

Contact us

Please contact us if you have any comments or suggestions.

Kiara King (Ballast Trust Archivist)