To access the records listed in this section you will either need to visit us, pay for research (£) or, where you can identify a specific record reference, order a copy (£). Published resources are for on site consultation only.
Lists of staff in various government departments
Although The National Archives does not hold employment records, there are some lists of civil servants in the records of some government departments. Use the advanced search of our catalogue to search with terms such as ‘staff list’, ‘establishment list’ or ‘register of service’, selecting ‘Search The National Archives’ in the ‘Held by’ section and narrowing search results to a specific department ‘Records by government department creators’.
Senior civil servants in annually published lists
For senior civil and Crown servants the following annually published lists tend to be the easiest to locate and the most likely to record the employment of an individual but the details provided are brief. They usually include the official’s job title, job description, qualifications and any awards. They are all available in The National Archives reading rooms:
Examination marks and results (1876–1991)
Search the Civil Service Commission examination marks and results in CSC 10. These records relate to all candidates who sat examinations or attended interviews for Civil Service posts, whether home or colonial, held under open and limited competition with appointment through merit.
The Civil Service Commission administered civil service examinations from 1855 onwards.
Application papers of famous or high-ranking civil servants (1836–1976)
Search the Civil Service Commission records in CSC 11 for application papers of people who were, either at the time of application or subsequently, famous or of high rank.
The Civil Service Commissioners’ annual reports (1870–1876)
Browse CSC 4/16–23 for brief details taken from original papers for appointments between 1870 and 1876. Please note that details are brief and will not give personal details.
For example, each entry in the ‘List of all Persons for whom Certificates of Qualifications have been granted by the Civil Service Commissioners for Clerkships and similar appointments, between 1 January 1876 and 31 December 1876’ (within CSC 4/21) provides brief details such as:
- situation (job title)
- date of certificate
Correspondence of the Lord Chamberlain’s department (1710–1902)
Browse LC 1 in our catalogue for correspondence of the department. Registers, including those to this correspondence, are in LC 3.
Accounts of the Lord Chamberlain’s department (1483–1901)
Browse LC 9, LC 10 and LC 11 in our catalogue for accounts of the department. Many of the volumes are indexed.
Warrants of appointment of servants and officers of the Lord Steward’s department (1660–1820)
Browse LS 13/246-267 in our catalogue for Warrants of Appointment.
In 1854 the office of Lord Steward was abolished and its functions were taken over by the Master of the Royal Household, whose records are not open to the public.
Accounts of the Lord Steward’s department (1640–1761)
Browse LS 1, LS 2, LS 3, LS 4, LS 6, LS 7 and LS 8 in our catalogue for accounts of the department. Those relating to the kitchen are in LS 9, and to the royal gardens in LS 10, LS 11 and LS 12.
Lists of senior officials in the Office Holders in Modern Britain series (17th–19th centuries)
The published volumes of the Office Holders in Modern Britain series include lists of senior officials and their appointment dates. These volumes are available online through British History Online (£) and include:
- Officials of the Secretaries of State, 1660-1782
- Foreign Office Officials, 1782-1870
- Treasury Officials, 1660–1870
- Officials of the Board of Trade, 1660–1870