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London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): CLA/051

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1900-1984

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 3.2 linear metres

Name of creator(s): Corporation of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The City Imperial Volunteers originated in conversations between the Lord Mayor and Lord Garnet Wolseley, a senior Army officer, as to the possibility of raising a force of volunteers for the war in South Africa. Having received authorisation from the War Office and having been assured of financial support by the masters of the City Livery Companies, bankers and merchants, a fund for that purpose was opened by a donation of 25,000 voted by the Common Council on 20 December 1899.

On 1 January 1900 the first volunteers were sworn in at Guildhall by the Lord Mayor, five aldermen and the sheriffs. On 12 January volunteers received the Freedom of the City of London and the following day the first detachment embarked on the troopship BRITON at Southampton. The C.I.V.s served in South Africa until October 1900. On 29 October they landed in England and marched through the City of London to be welcomed by the Corporation. On 31 October 1900 the Force was disbanded.

On 31 October 1900 the unexpended money in the C.I.V. fund was transferred to a new fund for the granting of compassionate allowances or pensions 'for the succouring supporting assisting maintaining or advancing in life Freemen of the City of London who were Members of the City of London Imperial Volunteers their families and dependants'. The trustees of this fund were the Lord Mayor and the Recorder ex officio, and the Chief Commoner (at the formation of the fund) for life. The fund exhausted its capital in 1971. At this time there remained four widows who were beneficiaries. The fund was continued by donations given by the Corporation with the proviso that when the last of the beneficiaries died, the fund would cease to exist. In November 1978 the last surviving recipient died and the fund was declared defunct.

A C.I.V. Old Comrades Association was formed in 1902, its last reunion appears to have been held in 1964.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the City Imperial Volunteers, 1900-1984, including contemporary publications relating to the Volunteers; financial records of the Volunteers Fund; press cuttings and published accounts; photographs and postcards; campaign diaries; service records for No. 1. Mounted Infantry Company; insignia (buttons and badges); medals and ribbons; equipment and ammunition, including a cannon ball, bullets, a pair of spurs, a wallet and a writing case; menus and programmes from 'welcome home' dinners and menus of reunion dinners.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Corporation of London Records Office.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

For Corporation of London records relating to the military, defence and wars, see CLA/050: City of London Lieutenancy, CLA/051 City Imperial Volunteers, COL/CC/CDC: Court of Common Council Civil Defence Committee, COL/CC/CDE: Court of Common Council Civil Defence (Emergency) Committee, COL/CC/MTC: Court of Common Council Militia Committee, COL/CC/SEC: Court of Common Council Special (Emergency) Committee, COL/CHD/MN: Chamberlain's Department: Military and Naval, COL/CHD/PR: Chamberlain's Department: Poor and other Relief, COL/CHD/CM: Chamberlain's Department: Chamber accounts, COL/CT: Charities, COL/MH/AD: Mansion House Administration, COL/SJ/05: Subject Series: Subjects - War and COL/SJ/10: Subject Series: Subjects - Honourable Artillery Company, COL/TCD/CD: Town Clerk's Department: Civil Defence, COL/PL: Plans for maps of the City produced during and after World War Two showing air raid damage, defences and jurisdictions.

Publication note:



Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: February 2009

Boer War (1899-1902) | Wars (events)
Insignia | Heraldry
Volunteer forces | Armed forces | State security
Military organizations

Personal names

Corporate names
City of London Imperial Volunteers | Corporation of London

City of London | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
South Africa | Southern Africa