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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): CLA/050
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1537-1987
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 15.5 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Corporation of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Lieutenancy of the City of London in its modern form was founded by an Act of Parliament in 1662. Its antecedents include a Commission of Lieutenancy of 1617 (which was issued to the Lord Mayor, eight Aldermen and the Recorder), and the Committee for Martial Causes which was a committee of the Common Council. Under the Act of 1662 the Lieutenants for the City of London were commissioned to levy the trained bands and to raise a Trophy Tax for defraying the necessary charges and incidental expenses of the Commission. The Lieutenancy had multifarious responsibilities in connection with the trained bands and the auxiliaries (later the London militia) including the appointment of officers, conduct and discipline, training and exercise, pay, equipment and recruitment. The militia was of consequence not only during periods when invasion was feared, but also had an important public order role. Since 1872 the Lieutenancy has ceased to commission officers in the auxiliary forces; instead commissions have been issued by the Sovereign. The Commissioners' responsibility for the militia ended in 1907 when the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act of that year converted the various battalions of the militia into units of the Army Reserve, and the Royal London Militia became thereafter the 7th Battalion Royal Fusiliers.

The second element of the 1662 Act, the raising and spending of the Trophy Tax was a major concern of the Lieutenants. The tax was levied about once every three years. The Lieutenancy assessed the Trophy Tax on the wards but 'the Common Council for each ward' apportioned it among the individuals. Having been collected, the Trophy Tax accounts were certified by the London Quarter Sessions of the Peace and printed in the City accounts for the year it was laid before the Justices. The tax was used to fund the auxiliaries and the militia. In particular it financed the accomodation for the staff and headquarters of the militia. For the period 1796 to 1801 the militia headquarters were housed in the building which formerly had been Surgeon's Hall. After the militia was disembodied in 1801 the Lieutenants decided that the building was 'a very heavy and unnecessary expense' so the building was sold back to the City in March 1803. Later a new Militia Headquarters was built in 1825 in Bunhill Row on land set aside in the Artillery Ground, but changing circumstances necessitated the move to smaller premises at 23 Euston Square around 1837. However a larger headquarters for the militia was deemed necessary again in the 1850s. The new building was built on a portion of the Artillery Ground and was completed in 1857. Known as Finsbury Barracks, it was occupied by the Quartermaster and staff of the Royal London Militia. In 1907 when the Royal London Militia became the 7th Battalion Royal Fusiliers the Lieutenancy ceased to have responsibility for this unit, but continued to pay for the upkeep of Finsbury barracks where the unit had its headquarters. Nowadays Finsbury Barracks houses units of the Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve, including elements of the Honourable Artillery Company.

The Trophy Tax was used also for making grants to further the aims of the auxiliary and volunteer forces of the City. For example in 1733 the Lieutenancy granted 500 for the building of Armoury House, the headquarters of the Honourable Artillery Company. The plans and specification submitted by the Artillery Company survive in the Lieutenancy's papers. In 1924 the Lieutenancy was empowered by the Auxiliary Air Force Act to apply the proceeds of the Trophy Tax to the Auxiliary Air Force of the City of London, thus widening the powers of the Commissioners. The present day Lieutenancy continues to use the Trophy Tax to make grants to the City of London Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve for example for recruiting campaigns, additional training facilities, competitions and charitable work associated with the Reserve.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the City Of London Lieutenancy, 1537-1987, including Lieutenancy commissions; lists of Commissioners; copy commissions; papers of the Court of Lieutenancy, including Committee of Lieutenancy minutes and reports; financial accounts; standing orders; attendance books; Court papers and correspondence; minute books of the Committee for Defaulters; enquiries, reports and proposals; Acts of Parliament concerning the Militia; press cuttings; monthly returns of officers, non-commissioned officers, and drummers; papers relating to the lease and use of artillery ground; papers concerning buildings and maintenance, including site plans; military and naval papers; general administrative papers and papers relating to the history of the Lieutenancy.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Corporation of London Records Office.

Allied Materials

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:

Description Notes

Archivist's 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

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