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Additional handling procedures for some documents

Last year, we temporarily withdrew access to the record series, FCO 141 (Foreign and Commonwealth Office and predecessors: Records of Former Colonial Administrations: Migrated Archives) because we found evidence of historical preservation treatment. This indicated that insecticide had been used. External testing of the documents confirmed this, and following consultation and testing with occupational hygienists the risk to people was assessed as minimal and we returned the record series to the Reading Rooms with additional safe handling procedures in place.

Image showing a respository at The National Archives

Further documentary research into the historic use of insecticides on documents has identified some further record series which may have been treated with insecticides in the same way as FCO 141.

The record series affected can be found at this link

Using the knowledge we acquired last year, we are keeping the records available for ordering and viewing but with the same additional handling procedures that are used for FCO 141.

When viewing any of the records from the series above, please follow the handling procedures below: –

  • Records will be viewed in a separate room within the main Reading Room and must be ordered in advance to ensure you are allocated a seat on the day you wish to visit.
  • We will provide disposable Nitrile Gloves for you to wear while using the documents.
  • If you are using mobile phones, cameras, laptops, and any other objects while viewing the documents, they must be wiped down with the materials provided prior to leaving the Reading Room or after handling the documents.
  • Please refrain from touching your face, eyes or mouth whilst viewing the records, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap once finished.

If you have any questions, please speak to staff in the Reading Room. All other Reading Room rules should be followed.

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