The Designation Scheme identifies the pre-eminent collections of national and international importance held in England’s non-national museums, libraries and archives, based on their quality and significance. Arts Council England manages the Designation Scheme on behalf of museums, libraries and archives. The National Archives provides expert advice on archive collections.

Memory of the World Register

UNESCO has launched the Memory of the World Programme which calls for the preservation of valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world, to ensure their wide dissemination. The UNESCO UK Memory of the World National Register was launched in Parliament in 2010, listing the UK’s most important archival holdings. These range from King William’s Charter to the City of London, to the archives of the Company of Scotland (now RBS), recording early trading to Africa and the Indies in the late 17th century.