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Archives in London and the M25 area

Commissioners of His Majesty's Customs, 1811-1821

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0096 MS 461
Held at: Senate House Library, University of London
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Full title: Commissioners of His Majesty's Customs, 1811-1821
Date(s): [1811-1821]
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: Printed volume including 32 leaves of manuscript instruction and annotations
Name of creator(s): Commissioners of His Majesty's Customs
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The term 'customs' applied to customary payments or dues of any kind, regal, episcopal or ecclesiastical until it became restricted to duties payable to the King upon export or import of certain articles of commerce. By ordinance of 21 January 1643, the regulation of the collection of customs was entrusted to a parliamentary committee whose members were appointed commissioners and collectors of customs forming a Board of Customs. This and succeeding committees appointed by Parliament until 1660 and thereafter by the Crown, functioned until 1662, when those who had been serving as commissioners became lessees of a new form of customs. This continued until 1671 when negotiations for a new farm broke down and a Board of Customs for England and Wales was created by Letter Patent.


Scope and content/abstract:

Volume containing printed and manuscript instructions to customs workers throughout the UK.
The manuscript section of the volume (pp. 263-323) comprises instructions from the Commissioners of Customs to tide, coast and landing waiters, warehouse keepers landing surveyors, etc, with particular reference to the written records to be kept. These instructions are similar to the printed instructions which make up the earlier part of the volume, and which contain manuscript annotations. Those beginning on p.209 are addressed to William Assheton Harbord, 2nd Baron Suffield and landing surveyor of Yarmouth, and dated 1811. Manuscript additions on pp. 320-323 cannot be earlier than 1821. There is a manuscript index to the entire volume, which has handwritten pagination throughout. Among the Commissioners mentioned are G Wilson, James Deacon Hume, J Williams, William Roe and Thomas Boone.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Single item.

Conditions governing access:

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Access to archive collections may be restricted under the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Finding aids:

Collection level description.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Bound in a Goldsmith's Library volume lettered 'Instructions for H.M. Customs' (Ref: G.L. Cat 11862).

Allied Materials

Related material:

The Goldsmith's Library holds other volumes relating to the Commissioners of Customs (Ref: G.L. Cat. 16698, 19083, 19858, and 19860). University of London MS 46 also relates to the Commissioners of H.M. Customs. University of London manuscripts generally relating to customs and excise include MS 39, 40, 41, 44, 90, 134, 140, 202, 203, 204, 612, 746 and 784.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

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:
Aug 2001

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