Misplaced items

This spreadsheet (PDF, 0.31 MB) lists each paper document held by The National Archives that is currently listed as misplaced or missing from its assigned shelf.

For the purposes of the spreadsheet, the following terms will be defined as:
Missing: misplaced at The National Archives
Misplaced: misplaced at another government department
Wanting: missing prior to transfer to The National Archives.

The spreadsheet shows the catalogue reference and title of each document, and the date it was last ordered.

The National Archives holds more than 11 million public records at Kew on behalf of the UK Government. Our paper collection, housed on more than 200km of shelving, continues to grow every year. We handle roughly 1.2 million transactions delivering documents to and from our reading rooms per year. On busy days the rate of document ordering can be on average one every ten seconds.

Occasionally a very small number of these files are found not to be in their correct location. This is usually down to human error. The majority of these files tend to be misfiled on the wrong shelf and are subsequently found again after a thorough inspection. We proactively monitor all missing documents on a weekly basis and have a robust, ongoing programme dedicated to locating documents. If a document is later located we update the catalogue accordingly and inform the original requester in writing of its availability. Documents are only recorded as missing in the spreadsheet after an extensive search has been conducted.

It must be noted that some documents in the spreadsheet were misplaced while out on loan or recalled by public bodies. These are listed as misplaced in the spreadsheet. Documents listed as wanting in our catalogue Discovery are not included in this spreadsheet as they were missing prior to transfer to The National Archives.

Instances of theft and serious damage are incredibly rare. Readers who attempt to steal from or seriously harm our documents will have their Reader’s Ticket permanently suspended. Such instances will be reported to the police and The National Archives will press for prosecution.