Our archives hold Company records dating from the early 17th century and collections of members' private papers. The archives comprise minute books, financial records, letters, diaries, memoirs, pamphlets, press cuttings, printed ephemera, photographs, maps and plans, rare books, prints, drawings, watercolours, reels of film, video and audiotapes and a growing number of digitised as well as born-digital items. We also preserve collections of medals, silver, oil paintings, uniforms, weapons and other artefacts acquired by the Company or donated by members and their families.
Researching HAC History
Although nearly all of the Company’s earliest records were lost during the Civil War period, the minutes of the Court of Assistants survive unbroken from January 1657 to the present day.
In 1889 a royal warrant gave the Secretary of State for War full control over the Company’s military affairs. For this reason, most records held in the HAC archives after that date mainly concern only civil matters, although there are some records covering the service of members in the South African War, the First and Second World Wars and subsequent Regimental activity. The collections of members' private papers cover their involvement in Company affairs, their Regimental careers within HAC sub-units and sometimes also their military service elsewhere or civilian careers.
Researching HAC Members
We have a treasured roll of members, probably begun in the 1630s, which lists those admitted between 1611 and 1682, known as the Ancient Vellum Book. Later records of admissions of members and their regimental service have also survived and are useful when researching members of the Company. Many of these are now available online.
Membership and regimental service records from the 17th century to 1945, including the World Wars, can be searched on Findmypast. We also provide the following two guides for researching HAC members from the World Wars: WWI Researcher's Guide and WWII Researcher's Guide. Finally, three HAC publications are available for purchase (see below).
To purchase any of the following, please click the title to access a purchase order form (members can access copies of these in the Library at Armoury House):
- Reflections of a Regiment: the Honourable Artillery Company and the Great War in Pictures
- Remembered with Honour, a two-volume guide to WWI HAC graves and memorials
- The Cardew-Rendle Roll, a record of 17,000 members' biographies from the earliest times to March 1908
We are currently working on a long-term project to deliver a new online catalogue of our archives. Until this becomes publicly available, listings up to 2002 can be researched via the National Archives and a summary of our holdings can be found on AIM25. Members can read a list of more recent accessions within each edition of the spring Journal.
A collection of early printed books and pamphlets on military subjects covering the period 1616-1800 are also held in our archives. Most of this early printed material is included in the British Library’s English Short Title (ESTC).
Enquiries and Access*
Members are welcome to consult the archives by appointment with the Archivist during working hours (usually a Tuesday and Wednesday). Enquiries from academics and other researchers should be made in writing to the Archivist. A donation to the Archives Fund is much appreciated for answering a complex or lengthy enquiry. Note that some records, such as those for the Benevolent Fund, are subject to data protection legislation and lengthy closure rules.
If you have an enquiry or would like to book an appointment, please contact the Archivist via the Company Office.
*If you are researching an HAC member, please explore the Researching HAC Members section above in the first instance.