Aims and Outcomes of the Project

Scotland has a proud, diverse and vibrant history of business enterprise. Shipbuilding, agriculture, textile manufacture, locomotive construction, food production, financial services and, most recently, telecommunications and internet commerce have all played a major part in shaping Scottish life. The records and archives of the companies involved in this history are vital to understanding how Scotland has developed into the country it is today.

This project will investigate the records and archives of the hundred oldest Scottish companies still registered with Companies House as of the date of employment of the current BACS Surveying Officer (1st December 2010). Although not all of these companies are still trading, Company House in Edinburgh will hold their basic records of registration for 20 years after their dissolution.

To find out the current progress of the project please see the News page.

The aim of this project is to
• Identify the oldest 100 Scottish Companies still registered with Companies House Edinburgh (SC numbers)
• Identify existing record collections of those companies (by that company or a third party)
• Facilitate access to those collections and archives
• Increase awareness of the existence of these records
• Emphasise importance and value of these collections to their owners

Desired outcomes
• Database of information and guide on using these archives, available online (through BACS website)
• Publication of findings in general and specialist media
• Self-publication (e.g. regular blog postings/website updates)
• Survey documentation and top level archive descriptors of previously undisclosed/undiscovered record collections
• Updating of NRAS records where appropriate

Actions to be undertaken
• Contact with companies/third parties to facilitate access to/publication of details
• Locating and possibly surveying previously undisclosed record holdings
• Updates of NRAS and BACS records on relevant businesses
• Creation of database products

The BACS Surveying Officer seeks to; create a valuable resource for future users and researchers of business archives; establish a project that can be used to increase the awareness of business archive use; and reach out to businesses that may have valuable records and have not previously been approached by the BACS.

The oldest 100 surviving registered companies are a diverse selection of limited liability concerns, ranging from community halls to hotels, banking firms to builders, and provide a microcosm of Scottish business life in the last 150 years (since Company House was established in 1856). Their records are valuable resources in their own right, and important pieces of Scottish history. Publicising this project will not only increase awareness of the history of these businesses, but raise the profile of company history in Scotland.

By doing so the Surveying Officer hopes to increase awareness of BACS and the Business Archive Strategy Scotland in the business and archival/records management communities.

See further background about the project and limited companies
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