Central government - 3 main duties are to protect citizens from lawlessness, provide justice & taxes to do these; Cabinet, Treasury, Home Office, Foreign, Colonial Office, State Papers, Departments.
Records include policy papers (what we should? how? reports, minutes, memos) and case papers (implement the policy, registers, case files). Example is the 1842 enquiry into the employment of children in mines (on Ancestry).
TNA records arranged by File/Register/Parchment. Use the guide to Cabinet and its Committees.
Printed sources for civil servants include Imperial Calendar civil servant list / FO and Colonial office list / Colonial sessional papers / London Gazette / pay registers / pension records (don't say much)
What is not at Kew?
Private papers of politicians and civil servants. Try Cambridge College Archives for Churchill.
Lesser material at places of deposit eg: local archives, Newfoundland for agreements / BL has the Indian Office / Royal Mail Archives has the Post Office
Online should be cabinet minutes and memos 1916-85 / Criminal records, census and 1939 register at Ancestry&FMP / Interdepartmental Comm of Gallantry Award on Ancestry.
Calendars are early records that have been transcribed and well indexed. Main HMSO ones widely available in libraries, archives & online www.british-history.ac.uk/catalogue.
State papers - all before 1972 are mainly calendared / domestic & foreign / arranged by reign and date; involves merchants, civil servants, soldiers, petitioners, criminals, landowners, farmers.
- good for researching civil service but indexing is poor
- general correspondence (T1) / odd taxation lists (T47) few tax records survive dur to privacy concerns / Royal African Co. (T70) for slavery issues 1760s-1820s / Slave Reg. (T71) also on Ancestry / Recompensation to inventors? (T166)
Foreign Office (FO)
- indexes 1906-1919 online, 1820-1952 are published
- entries for some individuals have been weeded so index may be all you get
- individual details for refugees / general correspondence (FO371) / Confidential Print has some names
- Consular BMD records at FMP / TNA / GRO / Fulham Archives (Bishop was responsible for OS Anglican church)
Home Office (HO)
- covers justice, law and order, local government magistrates, naturalisations largely up to 1948 (HO144)
- criminal registers (HO8) & FMP / pre 1830s crim. petitions (HO17) & FMP
- Hue and Cry police gazette (HO73) and Ancestry has list of criminals 1770-recently and deserters
- Audit Office (later became part of Treasury) has loyalist claims (AO)
- Min. of Health (MH) inc. poor law correspondence
- Treasurt Solicitor (TS) for legal papers