Academic journal article African Research & Documentation

Administering the Empire, 1801-1968: A Guide to the Records of the Colonial Office in the National Archives of the UK

Academic journal article African Research & Documentation

Administering the Empire, 1801-1968: A Guide to the Records of the Colonial Office in the National Archives of the UK

Article excerpt

Administering the Empire, 1801-1968: A Guide to the Records of the Colonial Office in The National Archives of the UK, by Mandy Banton. London Institute of Historical Research/ The National Archives of the UK, 2008, xx + 402. ISBN 978-1-905165-29- 2. £20.

The clarity and rigour with which this tome has been compiled will not surprise any of the many visitors to The National Archives who have benefitted from Dr. Banton's expertise over the years.

The first section of Administering the Empire is sub-divided into eleven 'commentaries', opening with chapters on 'The British Empire', 'Colonial government structure and relations with London' and other important background topics before moving on to the records themselves. Some seventyfive pages are devoted to the detailed explanation of the workings of Colonial Office records. Subsequent chapters deal with related material including 'Maps and Plans' and relevant 'Records of other government departments'.

The second section contains more than two hundred pages of Appendices, of which the first - 'Records relating to individual dependencies and regions' accounts for more than a half. With listings from 'Aden' to 'Zululand', via 'Jelebu' and 'Nunavut' (just two of territorial names with which this reviewer is ashamed to say he was not previously familiar), this section is comprehensive and will, for many researchers, be the most thumbed part of the book. Others may be better guided by Appendix 2 - 'Records arranged by subject' (from 'Accounts' to 'West African Frontier Force' via 'Intelligence' and 'Military'). Others still will find the listings of colonial newspapers (Appendix 3) held by TNA to be full of surprises. …

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