Digitising FCO 141 records

Internal view of a repository looking down a row of shelves

The National Archives has begun a programme of work to digitise and make more widely available records from the series FCO 141 (Foreign and Commonwealth Office and predecessors: Records of Former Colonial Administrations: Migrated Archives).  

 The digitisation of this series will, once complete, run to more than 2 million images. In alignment with the ambitions of the International Council on Archives’ Africa Programme, we have begun this work with a focus on Africa – specifically records relating to Botswana, the Republic of Cameroon, Eswatini, Gambia, Kenya, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Overall, we anticipate approximately 800,000 images being created relating to the 15 African countries within the series. Given the global scale of the task, the overall project is expected to take between 5 and 10 years to complete. 

While the digitisation will be undertaken by The National Archives, the work to make the digitised records available will be a collaboration with the national archives of the nations to which the records relate. We have begun discussions with colleagues in this first wave and look forward to further discussions as the programme develops. 

 This project is a practical demonstration of our commitment to connect with the biggest and most diverse audience possible in the most innovative ways we can. Over the last four years, we have worked hard to demonstrate why archives matter as vital assets for democracy and for future generations across the UK and around the world – collaboration has been at the heart of our approach. We will provide an update on our progress following the ICA Congress in Abu Dhabi this coming October.