Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Hong Kong Research - Colonial Office Correspondence

Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1842.   The one redeeming feature of this inhospitable island was the deep, sheltered harbour and it was not long before Military Barracks, Government Offices and Merchant Houses were built.  

The Praya, Hong Kong

Over the next 150 years Government officials in Hong Kong produced mountains of paperwork relating to their policy decisions and administrative duties - most of which involved copious correspondence with the government back home in Britain. The Colonial Office paperwork now resides in The National Archives at Kew.  

The National Archives, Kew, London

For decades everything was copied meticulously by the clerks of the various departments whilst back in Whitehall the reports were registered and comments/replies collated.  At the end of the year these bundles of correspondence were bound into heavy leather volumes. 

The volumes themselves are categorised with the main area being General Correspondence. Additional volumes contain correspondence with various other Government Departments such as the Crown Agents or War Office.  The final section relates to correspondence from private individuals with letters being filed alphabetically under the surname of the individual. 

If you are interested in consulting this correspondence then it is the CO 129 series that you will need.