HC Deb 09 March 1954 vol 524 cc1926-7
44. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that the Record Office in Chancery Lane, London, is overcrowded with valuable records; that many are Scottish records which, by reason of the overcrowding, are not easily accessible to Scottish scholars; that a new Scottish National Library and Record Office is now being built in Edinburgh; and if he will take step to transfer to Scottish custody in Edinburgh the Scottish records now housed in Chancery Lane, London.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)

The Public Record Office is not now overcrowded. In strict law records held there are not Scottish records unless and until a direction is made by the Master of the Rolls under the Public Records (Scotland) Act, 1937. Under this procedure a number were transferred to the Scottish Record Office in 1948. Some records held at Chancery Lane are, of course, of interest to both countries.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Minister aware that there are still in Chancery Lane a number of records which are euphemistically called reports by the people known as "intelligencers," that those reports are urgently required by Scottish historians and scholars, and will he take steps to have them sent to Edinburgh where they can be used for the public good?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

It is to some extent a matter of opinion whether certain of these documents are Scottish or English records. As I understand it, they were intelligence reports sent by the English Ambassador in the 16th Century to the Secretary of State in London. They give interesting information about Scotland but, of course, they were paid for, in accordance with the custom of those days and no doubt at a considerable rate, by the English taxpayer.

Mr. Nicholson

May I ask my hon. Friend where he would keep records concerning an hon. Member born in Ireland with a Welsh name who sits for a Scottish seat?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I should like a lot of notice of that question.

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