Friday, 21 January 2011

Scotland's Hundred Oldest Companies Project

On behalf of the Business Archives Council Scotland:

Scotland's Hundred Oldest Companies Project

To coincide with the launch of the Strategy for Business Archives in Scotland on 20th January 2011, the Business Archives Council Scotland announce the start of a project to find the records of Scotland’s hundred oldest surviving limited companies.

The limited company has allowed Scottish businesses and community groups to flourish and grow beyond the lives of their founders, and become important entities in Scottish life in their own right. The companies formed under the 1856 Joint Stock Companies Act were independent and influential actors in Scottish history, and their archives are a valuable resource for historic research. The records can also be utilised by the companies that hold them to add prestige and depth to brand names and as a source of product innovation. Currently 20% of FTSE 100 companies employ archivists to enable them to best exploit their records and archives.

The central aim of the project is to identify the record holdings of the oldest companies still registered at Companies House in Edinburgh, and produce an online guide detailing the company’s history and its surviving records. These companies range from large multinational firms and makers of famous brands to small production companies and community groups, and represent Scotland’s proud and diverse business tradition. Some collections are already in archives, but many of the companies (whether active or inactive) appear to have no store for their historical records.

This project is an exciting opportunity to celebrate existing business archives collections, and to hopefully discover and secure the future of records of historical value. Further details of the project are online at ( and you can follow the blog at (, and of course you may receive enquiries about the possible use of your catalogues and record descriptors for the project. I am grateful for any help, and I’m happy to take suggestions and answer queries at David.Luck @

(With thanks to BACS and Simon Fowler)

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