First, a huge thank you to Roy Metcalfe for taking these photos, sharing them with me, and giving me permission to share them as well. This volume can be found here on The National Archive’s online catalog. (All photos thanks to Roy Metcalfe).
BR1 is the Catalog for the Books of Reference series, which is one of the categorizations of documents produced and distributed by the Admiralty/Royal Navy. I talk about this in this series of blog posts. The BR series contained several different types of documents, and was the continuation of the OU ‘Official Use’ series. It contained documents that were either unrestricted or restricted- confidential books were in the CB series (and there were other higher series as well).
The types of documents included in BR include a) technical manuals for the use of officers and sailors b) instructional manuals such as the Manual of Seamanship and Manual of Navigation c) staff histories, analyses and appreciations d) externally produced documents that were distributed by the Admiralty to naval personnel. I’ve included the first few photographs from the volume in order to give a representative example of what is contained. It is a substantial volume. This version is from August 1968- and replaced the version of February 1968.
The next few photos are the front matter, laying out what is contained within the catalog. They also cover matters such as provision, supply, allowances, document tracking, and disposal of worn copies. The discussion of how the allotments are to be tracked and issued- even with the freely issued ones, is very reminiscent of 17th century victualing and purser practices for tracking goods.
The next two photos are the first two pages of the actual listing. As you can see there are several columns which are, from left to right
a) BR Number – the assigned document number
b) year of publication- you’ll seen many are a decade old if not older
c) The title
d) the issuing department (alas, there is not a legend)
I haven’t really had a chance to have a look at this volume yet but I’m going to try to put it all into a single PDF and then OCR the document to make analysis more easy hopefully.
Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing more of the photos Roy has so very generously shared with me.
I have 192 images which are available to share.