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Honourable Artillery Company

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1996
Held at: Honourable Artillery Company
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Full title: Honourable Artillery Company
Date(s): 1656-2001
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
View subfonds/series records
Extent: 95 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Honourable Artillery Company | 1685-
Overseers of the Fraternity or Guild of St George | 1537
Gentlemen of the Artillery Garden | 1537


Administrative/Biographical history:

In 1537, the Overseers of the Fraternity or Guild of St George received a Charter of Incorporation from King Henry VIII. The purpose of this Guild was to improve the defence of the realm and maintain the science and feat of shooting long bows, cross bows and hand guns. The Guild became known as 'the gentleman of the Artillery Garden', after its practice ground in Spitalfields, then simply as the Artillery Company. At this time 'artillery' referred to archery and other missile weapons, and 'great artillery' to guns. The courtesy prefix 'Honourable' was first used in 1685 and officially confirmed by Queen Victoria in 1860.

Captains of the Artillery Garden provided officers for the London Trained Bands, a citizen militia. Members of the Company fought on both the Royalist and Parliamentary sides during the Civil War of 1642-1649. In the early 17th century, the City of London Court of Aldermen appointed the chief officers and paid the professional soldiers who trained the members of the Company. The Company's role in restoring order to the City of London following the Gordon Riots of 1780 prompted the gift of its first cannon by the City Corporation and led to the creation of an Artillery Division.

In 1860, control of the Company moved from the Home Office to the War Office and in 1889, a Royal Warrant gave the Secretary of State for War full control of the Company's military affairs.

The Light Cavalry was formed in 1861 as a reconnaissance unit for the infantry, becoming a horse battery in 1891 and accounting for the Regiment's link with the Royal Horse Artillery (RHA). In 1979 the Court agreed to reconstitute the Light Cavalry for ceremonial tasks. The Company became part of the newly formed Territorial Army with the passing of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act in 1907. Its property and privileges are protected by the Honourable Artillery Company Act 1908. A detachment of the HAC Metropolitan Special Constables was formed in 1919. In the following year the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers was formed.

The HAC received its first Battle Honour 'South Africa 1900-02' for service in the Boer War, where almost two hundred members of the Company served, mainly with the City Imperial Volunteers as infantry, mounted infantry and in a Field Battery. Two Infantry Battalions and five Batteries of the HAC fought in World War One, serving in France, Italy, Aden, Egypt and Palestine. Three members were awarded the Victoria Cross. The Infantry Battalion of the HAC became an Officer Cadet Training Unit at the beginning of World War Two. The 11th and 12th HAC Regiments of RHA served in North Africa and Italy, while the 13th HAC Regiments of RHA fought in France, Holland and Germany. The Company also provide a Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment and two Heavy Anti-Aircraft Batteries of the Royal Artillery. Nearly four thousand Company members who received commissions during World War Two, of whom over seven hundred lost their lives.

In 1947 the Company was reorganised into an Infantry Battalion and two Royal Horse Artillery Regiments. The Territorial Army became the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve from 1967 until 1980, when it resumed its original name. The HAC was reorganised into four squadrons that formed part of the British Army in the Rhine in 1973.

The Captain-General of the organisation is currently HM Queen Elizabeth II.

Since 1633 a Court of Assistants has governed the HAC, it is now responsible for its civil affairs. An Annual General Court has been held since at least 1660. Its role now is to receive the Annual Report and Accounts, select an Auditor, and transact the ordinary business of the Company. Thereafter the Court empowers Committees to undertake the detailed business of the Company. The nine current committees meet regularly throughout the year, and delegate routine and project work to the Company Executive. The Executive Office carries out the day to day management and administration of the civil element of the HAC.

The HAC moved from Spitalfields to its present site on City Road in 1641. Armoury House was built in 1735, with the east and west wings being added in 1828. A further addition - the Sergeant Major's Cottage was built against the West wing in 1850. Replaced by a larger block in 1900, this now houses most of the Archives.

The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company (A&HAC) of Boston, Massachusetts, was founded in 1638. Several of the founders were members of the HAC. Since 1887, delegations from the Ancients have frequently visited the HAC in London, while the first of many visits to Boston by members of the HAC took place in 1903. The Boston Association was formed to maintain and develop links with the A&HAC.


Scope and content/abstract:

archives of the Honorable Artillery Company (HAC) comprising:

minutes of Court of Assistants', 1656-2000; rough minutes of Court of Assistants', 1729-1782; indexes to Court of Assistants' minutes, 1656-1952; minutes of Annual General Court, 1772-1785; Annual General Court elections books, 1660-1771; minutes of Court Committee, 1718-1734; General Committee of Assistants' and rough Court of Assistants' minutes, 1738-1740;General Committee of Assistants' and other committees' minutes, 1739-1763; Committee of Court of Assistants' minutes, 1888-1889; papers on the Honourable Artillery Company Act (1908) , 1907-1908; Accounts and Stores Committee minutes, 1781-1845; Military Committee minutes, 1781-1808; Miscellaneous committees minutes, 1776-1784; City Lands Committee minutes 1773-1778; City Lands Committee and other committees rough minutes, 1773-1778; Report book of the Index Committee, 1778; London Militia Committee minutes, 1796; Committee to build Armoury House minutes, 1734-1738; papers on the addition of wings to Armoury House, 1741-1746; papers on the Construction of the Albert Room at Armoury House, 1860-1861; Estate Committee minutes, 1781-1845; Estate and Finance Committee minutes, 1845-1981; index to Estate and Finance Committee minutes, 1931-1960; Finance Committee minutes, 1982-2001; Miscellaneous Committees minutes, 1866-1981; Sutling Committee minutes, 1899-1930, 1978-1997, also includes House Committee, 1976-1982 and Bisley Committee1976-1982; House committee minutes, 1921-1976; Regimental Sports Committee record books, 1910-1926; Sports Committee/Sports Club minutes, 1922-1992; Bisley Hut Committee minutes, 1927-1995; Compassionate Fund Committee minutes 1922-1972 [closed]; Compassionate Fund register of Claimants, 1918-1972 [closed]; Compassionate Fund account book, 1919-1964 [closed]; Compassionate Fund papers, 1917-1924 [closed]; balance sheets, 1918-1972; Benevolent Fund Committee minutes 1935-2000 [closed]; Benevolent Fund ledger 1943-1966 [closed]; Benevolent Fund appeal account book, 1961-1962; Regimental recruiting committee minutes, 1903; Journal Committee/ Journal and Publicity Committee minutes, 1928-1970; Membership and Privileges Committee minutes 1959-1970; Members and Communications/Membership and Recruiting committee minutes, 1970-1995; Property Committee minutes, 1948-1955; Property Management Committee minutes, 1982-1995; Treasures Committee/Museum and Treasures Committee minutes, 1979-1993; Museum Committee minutes, 1994-1998; Treasures Committee minutes, 1994-1998; Regimental Ball Committee minutes, 1885; American Entertainment General Committee minutes and scrapbook, 1896; General American Committee minutes, 1903-1922; Court Secretary's journal of visit to Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company in Boston, 1903; Veteran Committee/St George's Day Dinner Committee minutes, 1933-1939, 1953-1965; Presentation of Colours Committee minutes, 1979-1980; Military accommodation development committee minutes, 1985; Boston visit Committee minutes, 1986-1988; Regimental Dress committee minutes, 1995-1996;

Grenadier Company HAC minutes 1968-1971; No 1 Company HAC (Infantry) minutes, 1952-1966; No 2 Company HAC (Infantry) minutes 1954-1967; No 3 Company HAC (Infantry) minutes, 1891-1966; No 3 Company HAC (Infantry) Shooting Association minutes, 1882-1891; No 3 Company HAC (Infantry) Shooting Committee. 1929-1937; No 4 Company HAC (Infantry) minutes, 1931-1990; HAC Field (`B') Battery minutes, 1893-1912;

financial records of the Company including cash books, 1667-1969; cash receipts books, 1703-1772; Poors Box account books, 1741-1873; HAC balance sheets and accounts, 1936-1986 (incomplete,); Commanding Officer's accounts, 1926-1939;

Suggestion books, 1921-1992;

signature book for HAC visit to the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company in Boston, 1903; Committees signature books, 1958-1996; Court of Assistants' signature book, 1936-1980; Sutling Committee signature book, 1927-1964; Visitors books, 1865-1889, 1957-1972;

papers on the Artillery Garden, [1640-1777]; notebook on the Artillery Garden, 1878; Book of HAC leases (copies), 1698-1757 ; Book of abstracts of HAC leases [1745-1767]; Book for loans to HAC for building houses on City Road, 1792-1799; books of loans to the HAC, 1796-1799; HAC lease books, 1877-1900; HAC rent rolls, 1780-1960; Statement of HAC rents collected, 1960-1965; papers on building a house on City Road (West Side), 1792; plans of proposed alterations to Armoury House, 1938; HAC surveyor's annual reports, 1934-1977, 1985-1991;

papers including letters, leases, plans etc relating to individual properties, including Armoury House, 1900-1952; Artillery Court, 1779-1900; Artillery Garden, 1727-1961; Bisley Hut, Brookwood, Surrey, 1895-1928; Bunhill Row (Artillery Place West), 1783-1975; Chiswell Street, 1779-1954; City Road, 1793-1955;

HAC index book of letters received, [1870-1900]; HAC letter delivery books, 1847-1858; HAC out letter books, 1891-1922;

Scrapbooks, printed papers and press cuttings, 1726-1909; HAC printed papers, 1861-1870; HAC printed summonses to the Court of Assistants, 1888-1891; HAC press cuttings, 1888-2000;

Registers of admissions to the Artillery Company 1618-1914; HAC admission books, 1780-1997;

Artillery Company quarterage books, 1628-1643; HAC quarterage receipt books, 1754-1780; HAC subscription books, 1782-1885 ; HAC subscription rolls, 1883-1887; HAC distribution books, 1737-1782; Muster books for the officers of the City of London Trained Bands, 1719-1779; Muster book for Sergeants and Marshalls of the City of London Trained Bands, 1756-1779; Roll of Sergeants of the Regiments of the City of London Trained Bands, 1778; List of Captain William Alexander Dodd's Company of the White Regiment, City of London Trained Bands, 1773-1774; HAC drill attendance books, 1782-1783; List of members of the Military Society exercising on the Artillery Garden, 1778-1779; HAC orderly books, 1798-1822; HAC book of guards at Armoury House, 1831-1868;

papers of City Imperial Volunteers Battery 1900; War Office annual inspection reports, 1899-1914; notebook on records of HAC officers, 1914-1921; HAC Depot register for recruits, 1917-1918; Index book on cases of death in HAC battalions and batteries, 1914-1918; letters and photographs of HAC members killed or died of wounds in World War One, 1916-1919;

notebook on the 1st Battalion HAC (Infantry) 1914-1919; messages and signals of the 1st Battalion HAC (Infantry) 1915;

material relating to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion HAC (Infantry) including: Corporals' Recreation Tent minutes, 1916-1919; Regimental Institute Committee minutes, 1917-1919; Sergeants Mess minutes, 1914-1919; HAC regimental number registers to [1915]- 1919;

Major George H Mayhew's record book of the 1st Battalion HAC (Infantry) 1914-1919;

material relating to the 2nd Battalion HAC (Infantry), including nominal rolls of original Battalion, drafts to, and cadre, 1916-1919;

War Diaries of the 1st battalion HAC (Infantry), 1914-1919; and the 2nd Battalion HAC (Infantry), 1916-1919;

application forms for admission to HAC, 1920-1976;

War Diaries of the 11th (HAC) Regt RHA, 1940-1945; 12th (HAC) Regt RHA, 1939-1945; 13th (HAC) Regt RHA, 1940-1945; 86th (HAC) HAA Regt RA, 1939-1946; F Battery, 12th (HA) Regt RHA, 1944-1945;

HAC Cadet Battalion admission and reunion signature book, 1939-2002;

notebook on the war services of HAC members [1942-1946]; nominal roll of officers in the 86th (HAC) HAA Regt RA, 1940-1946;

Part I order books for B Battery, 11th (HAC) Regt RHA, 1940-1941; Part II order book for 11th (HAC) Regt RHA, 1942-1943; Part II orders for 86th (HAC) HAA Regt RA, 1944-1946;

notebook with report of Committee on appointment of Captain General of the HAC [1766]; notebook with report of Committee on the revision of the HAC Orders, 1773; book of gifts and subscriptions to the HAC, 1741-1766; book of inventories of HAC furniture , stores etc, 1782-1798; registers of HAC wine bins, 1822-1869; HAC insurance record book, [1890-1966]; HAC library rules and catalogue [1864]; Register of presentations to the HAC and Treasurers Fund purchases, 1944-1965; inventories of furniture, fittings and effects at Armoury House, 1848, 1862, 1891, 1906;

C O Skilbeck, H R Hall and R H E Hill, comps Catalogue of the regimental Museum, London, HAC, 1909 and by the same authors, Catalogue of the Armour, weapons, uniforms, portraits, prints and other objects of interest in the Armoury House of the honourable Artillery Company, London HAC, 1911; An Inventory of Armour, Arms and other items of military interest in the possession of the Honourable Artillery Company, A D C Le Sueur, London HAC, 1925;

inventories of silver and plate, military books, arms, armour, trophies and furniture, fittings, pictures, drawings, prints, and regimental photograph albums, 1922-1987;

HAC lottery accounts, 1775-1777; letters on the maintenance of order in the City of London, 1781-1795; HAC fire insurance policies 1791-1865; Papers on Company balls at the London Tavern, 1796-1798;

HAC Boston Society and Boston Association minutes, 1939-1995;

HAC Cricket Club minutes, 1898-1982; HAC Mess Club minutes, 1884-1968; papers, 1937-2000; HAC Mounted Infantry City Imperial Volunteers muster roll for reunions, 1900-1957; HAC Officers' Club/Officers Mess minutes, 1878-1940; HAC Rugby Football Club minutes, 1959-1975; Sergeants' Club papers, 1949-1961; HAC South Wales Section signature book, 1921-1951; HAC Veteran Club minutes, 1899-1923; HAC Westmeath Committee minutes 1934-1967;

administrative papers relating to matters including the Benevolent Fund, 1834-1987; Bisley Hut, 1924-1978; regimental shooting, 1948-1977; Court of Assistants, 1952-1978; Estate and finance committee, 1930-1977; HAC Journal (including photographs), 1923-2003; wages books and sheets, 1924-1972; (33 boxes)

index cards recording the activities of members during World War One, compiled 1919-1920 (15 drawers); index cards for the Officers of the City of London Trained Bands, 1588-1803, compiled from HAC membership records (2 drawers); index cards of HAC World War Two Officers; (3 drawers)

collection of plans of company property, 1787-2001; (250 plans)

publications including the Journal of the Honourable Artillery Company, 1923-present; The Annual Report of the Court of Assistants, 1884-present; A List of the Chiefs, Officers [...] of the Honourable Artillery Company/Members of the Honourable Artillery Company, 1774-present; Rules and Orders of the Honourable Artillery Company, 1751-1964

microfilm copies of the Minutes of the Court of Assistants 1656-1852; indexes to Court of Assistants' minutes, 1656-1847; HAC press cuttings book, 1898-1909; and Major George H Mayhew's record book of the 1st Battalion HAC (Infantry), 1914-1919.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As listed above.

Conditions governing access:

By appointment only. Contact the Archivist, Honourable Artillery Company, Armoury House, City Road, London EC1Y 2BQ. Administrative records less than 30 years old are not available.
Researchers are requested to consult microfilm copies where they exist, rather than original material.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies available subject to condition of material, and copyright restrictions.

Finding aids:

Unpublished detailed location lists for Company Archives collection, 2003; Unpublished HAC Personal Name Index, 1780-1851, J Armstrong and J N Strachan, 2003; Unpublished HAC Draft register of members, 1850-1994, C R S Fowler, 1995; Unpublished List of the Regimental Photograph Albums, compiled by Col H F A Jackson, [1976]; Detailed lists for personal papers of Major Alexander McKenzie, Major Roger Cyril Croxton, and Captain John Malcolm Beaven, compiled by Clare Barrett, 2002.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Collected and held in situ by the Company. Stored off site during World War Two.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Honourable Artillery Company also holds a Personal Papers collection;

Papers relating to the regiments military activities held by The National Archives-Public Record Office, Kew.

Publication note:

Honourable Artillery Company, 1537-1987, G Goold Walker, HAC, 1986; The History of the Honourable Artillery Company, Vol 1 & 2, G A Raikes, London, Bentley, 1878-1879; The History of the Honourable Artillery Company, Anthony Highmore, London, 1804.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Historical Manuscripts Commission's On-Line National Register of Archives; The Honourable Artillery Company, HAC, 2001.
Compiled by Alison Field as part of the London Signpost Survey 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:
October 2003

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