The HAC Archives holds a unique collection of records which date from the early seventeenth century. Although nearly all of the Honourable Artillery Company’s earliest records were lost during the Civil War period (1642-49), the minutes of the Company’s governing body, its Court of Assistants, survive in an unbroken sequence from January 1657 (new style dating) to the present day. Minutes of subsidiary committees appointed by the Court begin in 1718 and the Company’s earliest quarterage (or subscription) book is dated 1628-41 with the main series of financial records beginning in 1667.
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 created by the Company after that date and held in the HAC Archives mainly concern civil rather than military matters, although there are some regimental records for the South African War and the First and Second World Wars.
The Archives also has a treasured roll of members admitted between 1611 and 1682, known as the Ancient Vellum Book (probably begun c. 1630s). Later records of admissions of members and their regimental service have also been preserved and are useful for researching members of the Company.
The Company preserves records of its property and activities and collects the personal papers of its members. Personal papers held in the HAC Archives include those of the Victorian landscape gardener and garden architect Major Alexander McKenzie (1829-93) and artworks by Adrian Hill (1895-1977) and Robert Thomas Landells (1833-77). As well as the minute books and financial records, archive material held at Armoury House includes letters, diaries, memoirs, rare books and pamphlets, press cuttings, photographs, and maps and plans.