Category Archives: Archives

Statutes in the Parliament.UK Digital Archive

I have recently found a new digital archive of English, British and U.K. statutes, at the parliament.uk website.

It appears to have around 1,200 items of legislation, some of which are professionally photographed manuscripts, and some of which are PDFs. The vast majority are of local acts; there’s only 56 (at the time of writing) public statutes available. The reproductions of the rolls and manuscripts are of high quality, and hosted externally on a system called ‘CollectionsBase.’ There is a download button in the bottom left hand corner, which, with the ‘Gallery’ view (top right corner) allows all the pages of a document to be downloaded in .jpg format.

Unfortunately, the system for items hosted on their own site is less usable. I have not found a single PDF file with the extension .pdf, even though the links to these documents claim them to be so and have such. This can cause problems with displaying the document, whether through the browser or using a desktop app, and creates work for the user in that every PDF downloaded needs to be renamed. Many local acts have the pseudo extension .local, though I have also found .South, .Western,  and .Clydebank. I presume the latter is due to the use of multiple full stops in the file names; the processing software seems to have truncated the name at the first of them.

Furthermore, it is difficult to navigate the catalogue other than with the search function. This means that it is difficult to know what is generally available, such as how many enclosure acts are there, how many there are, and what proportion it constitutes of the total legislation passed.

However, there are ways of finding all the public and private acts using the search function. These links are on the site, but I had difficulty finding them

Find all digitized public acts.

Find all digitized private acts.

In total, right now there are over 5,000 digitized documents. Find them all here.