Archival History1

The Record Commission of Ireland was established in 1810 to investigate the condition of public records in Ireland. Having first investigated the Office of the Keeper of State Records they turned their attention to the Chief Secretary’s Office (CSO). They reported that the CSO records were stored in the Bermingham Tower in Dublin Castle, along with other records from various offices.

In 1812, they recommended that the Wardrobe Tower in Dublin Castle be fitted out as a repository for these records, along with records from the Privy Council and Parliamentary Record Office. The refurbishment was carried out by Francis Johnston, architect and an inspector of civil buildings, and thereafter the building was known as the Record Tower.

Under the Public Records (Ireland) Act of 1867, the Public Record Office of Ireland was established in a custom-built building at the Four Courts, Dublin. The Keeper of State Papers was instructed to transfer records housed in the Record Tower to this new building. By 1919, a considerable portion of the state papers had been moved to the Public Record Office and were consumed in the explosions and fire which engulfed that building at the start of the Civil War in 1922.

Fortunately, the Chief Secretary’s Office Registered Papers (CSORP) in this collection survived this fate because they had yet to be transferred. After 1922, the papers remained in the Record Tower under the custody of the Keeper of State Papers. With the passing of the National Archives Act, 1986 the Office of the Keeper of State Papers and the Public Record Office were amalgamated to form the National Archives, Ireland. In 1991, the papers were transferred to the newly acquired National Archives building in Bishop Street, Dublin, where they currently reside.