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About the Catalogue

The catalogue contains details of all the records which are open to researchers. Newly opened records are added to the catalogue each year in January. The catalogue only includes descriptions of records and there are no links to any actual documents.

Many of the items have been catalogued on the basis of a classification scheme devised in 1978 where the reference indicates the department, the activity, and the individual item. There are 16 letter codes and these reflect the organisation of the Bank at that time. Rapid changes in the internal organisation of the Bank in the late twentieth century and the frequent transfer of ownership of records series between different areas eventually made it impossible to maintain the original departmental classification system in the same form and so, from September 2000, a new numerical reference number system was adopted which no longer indicates departments or type of activity, although this is displayed in the description of the record.

For more information about the history of the departments within the Bank use the 'Name search', entering Bank of England in the Name box. This will return details of the most significant Bank departments.

Some file series have catalogue entries under both the pre and post-2000 schemes and in such cases the original reference, if there is one, can be used to bring them together (see the Advanced search section in How do I search the catalogue? to see how to do this).

Certain records in the catalogue are linked through the names database. Important persons, such as senior Bank staff, and companies and institutions in which the Bank was involved, and the main departments of the Bank are included in the database. Using the Name search will show a biography of the person, organisation, or department and bring together the relevant records.


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