Ref NoS17
Catalogue LevelSeries
TitleRecords of the Chief Secretary's Office
DescriptionThe records at the Isle of Man Public Record Office now catalogued as S17 comprise a sequence of Government Office subject files. The majority of files stored at the Public Record Office date from the 1930s onwards, however some earlier 19th and 20th century files do exist amongst this series.

The earliest records of the post-revestment Government Office (now known as the Chief Secretary's Office), including Government Letter Books from 1781-1898 and subject files continuing until the 1930s, were transferred to the Manx Museum by the Government Office in the 1950s and are currently held by Manx National Heritage Library and Archives. In 1898, the Government Office appears to have ceased using letter books and moved to a system of storing records in subject files only.

Due to the central role of the Government Office and Government Secretary in all core functions of Government, the subject files in this series are a key source documenting the political and administrative history of the Isle of Man during the 19th and 20th century, including the move to self-governance.
Physical DescriptionSome records were subject to water damage prior to arrival at the Isle of Man Public Record Office and were found to be fragile or contaminated with mould at the time of cataloguing. Treatment, cleaning and re-packaging is required.
Administrative HistoryIn 1765, the British Government purchased the Isle of Man from the Lord of Man, 3rd Duke of Atholl resulting in the revestment of sovereignty in the British Crown. The Lieutenant Governor, appointed by the Crown, became head of the administration of government for the Island reporting to English government departments, in particular the Treasury and Home Office. The Lieutenant Governor and a team of officials, headed by the principal civil servant the Government Secretary, were responsible for making and executing Government policy for the Island. In 1866, House of Keys elections were held for the first time and the momentum for Home Rule and self-government increased. This led to the gradual formation of committees for functions such as harbours and highways and the emergence of statutory boards during the late 19th century and early 20th century. However the Government Office and Government Secretary continued to play a central role in the administration of government during this period and were involved in virtually all functions.

During the 20th century, the system of boards and committees for control of core government functions continued to evolve and the Island achieved ever-increasing independence in governance. During the 1980s, the system of Boards was replaced by a ministerial system with new executive departments, such as the Treasury. Many of the functions of the Government Office were devolved to these new departments, however the Chief Secretary continued as the head of the Isle of Man Civil Service. At the time of accession (2015), the Chief Secretary's Office is now part of the Cabinet Office. The Island is now a British crown-dependency, self-governing through an independent Parliament (Tynwald), although the UK Crown continues to represent the Island in matters of foreign policy and defence.
Custodial HistoryRecords in S17/1 were fully transferred to the Isle of Man Public Record Office under section 3(4) of the Public Records Act 1999 by the Cabinet Office on 22 April 2015 as part of Accession A28.
Arrangement of SeriesS17/1: Subject files 1826-1982
AccessPartially closed
Access ConditionsPart of this series in currently closed to public access. Please contact the Isle of Man Public Record Office for further information:
ExtentAt the time of accession 22 April 2015: 2482 folders
Alternative Reference NumberC14/1(part of)
Accession NumberA28
Related MaterialC14/2; C14/3; C14/A; S18

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DS/IM/9Isle of Man; Chief Secretary's Office; ?-Present?-Present
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