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How to use the Digitised Collections

Important information

  • Only a small portion of The Baring Archive is accessible online. This includes:
    • The first General Ledger (1766-1773) GLN1/1
    • The first Journal (1766-1773) J/001
    • Annual Account Books (1830-1993) AAB
    • Letter Books (1831-1919) LB – This series goes up to 1946. If you would like to see the later Letter books get in touch.
  • The following series have also been digitised but are not currently available online. Please get in touch if you would like to view them.
    • House Correspondence relating to Argentina (1817-1950) HC 4.1
    • Northbrook Papers – Business Papers (1694-1972) NP 1
    • Large format items, including Certificates and Securities, Maps and Artwork (Various)
  • You can find out about the rest of the archive and how you can access it here.
  • This website currently provides access at box level in the form of PDFs. Therfore, many items comprise a PDF and they will take time to load. Please be patient!
  • We are working to upload JPEGs of individual items that can be linked to their specific catalogue entry, this will make the collections even more searchable, as we can pair them with their catalogue entries and effects the House Correspondence, Northbrook Papers and large format items.
  • It is highly recommended that in order to locate specific material and to understand its context you consult the Baring Archive’s online catalogues and make a note of the relevant reference numbers. The search box on this site is limited so although it may be used, it is unlikely to give you a complete picture.

Jump to help on:

Searching and browsing the digitised collection

The search currently available on the site is limited so we recommend that you first consult the Baring Archive’s online catalogues and make a note of the relevant reference numbers. You can then look for these within the available PDFs.

Records are rarely created in isolation and the materials surrounding a specific item can be very useful for determining its context and to ensure the content is not misrepresented. After finding a specific record, we highly recommend that you review the surrounding materials to understand the context of its creation. You can also try different series or keywords to search around your topic, giving you a fuller picture.

If you aren’t sure what you want to see, you can browse the online collection by clicking the button at the top left of the screen. You can also have a look at some of our items of interest or even visit the main site to see some of our digital exhibitions. If you would like a bit of background information on Barings and its key players, see the main website for more information.

Reference Numbers

Digitised items often have a handwritten number on them, usually in the top right-hand corner. This is the reference number for that individual document. There are a couple of things that can be helpful to remember:

  • The main document number is likely to look something like this, HC In this case: HC 4 refers to House Correspondence from Spain and Spanish and Portuguese Latin America; HC4.1 is specifically from Argentina; 65 is the box number; and 32 is the item number within the box.
  • Sometimes there will be an additional circled number on the end. This is the “parts number”, which indicates if documents have parts that are or could become separated in the future. This ensures that pages remain in order and do not become disassociated from the whole. They do not need to be used in academic references.
  • Not every image will have a reference number written on it, as there is only one reference number per “piece”. For example a letter that is folded into four separate pages will be four separate images. The reference number will only be on the first page of the letter.
  • Most documents are in chronological order. Documents with enclosures have been catalogued as one item. This means that there may be additional pieces in an item that are from an earlier date.

All efforts have been made to determine copyright of original documents.

The images are free to use for personal use or academic publications and should be credited as follows:

Please contact the team if you are unsure whether you can use an image. As a condition of usage, please ensure the image is properly credited and that the full item reference is included in the format below.

The Baring Archive, [Description of Item], [Date of Item] (Reference number)

Eg. The Baring Archive, Correspondence from Norberto de la Riestra to Barings, 25 September 1876 (HC

The download function on the website only allows you to download one image at a time. If you’d like to download multiple images from a box, we suggest using “Search through a box” and downloading the PDF.

If you are unsure whether you can use an image or if you would like a higher resolution version of the image Please contact us giving us as much information as possible.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Here are a few tricks to try:

  • Try using a less specific search term, i.e. Bowden rather than Arthur Bowden Smith.
  • Try using slightly different terms, for example, Argentina rather than Buenos Aires.
  • Could what you are searching have changed names over time? For example, Barings itself began as John & Francis Baring & Co, moving on to Baring Brothers & Co and finally Baring Brothers Limited.
  • Search for individuals as well as companies. For example, C H Sanford worked for Samuel B Hale & Co and his correspondence is catalogued under his own name rather than the company name.
  • What you are looking for may not be digitised. Have a look at our collection descriptions on the website and contact us about visiting the archive.
  • Items are catalogued to a standard level so sometimes searching for keywords may not help you find what you want despite it being there.
  • If you transcribe or translate material as part of your research, we would love to have a copy so we can include it in the catalogue to continue to improve the search facility.
  • If you find anything that you think has been catalogued incorrectly, please let us know.
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