Last week I was asked to locate “the Order in Council dated 19th December 1913 (made pursuant to the Dockyard Ports Regulation Act 1865)” and concerning the Dockyard Port of Cromarty. You know I love these old ones!
Orders in Council are orders which have been personally approved, at a meeting of the Privy Council, by the monarch. If the order had been recent it might have been available via the Privy Council website – but 1913 is not recent (even by our standards).
Orders in Council fall into two broad categories, Statutory and Prerogative:
- Statutory Orders in Council are issued as Statutory Instruments – they are numbered and are published with other SIs
- Prerogative Orders are not SIs. They are published in the London Gazette and Edinburgh Gazette.
I had no way of knowing which I was looking for…
I began by checking our holdings of published SIs and our unique collection of local SIs (ones which don’t get re-printed). I did find a reference to the Order in Council in the back of the published volume but there was no detail there. Next, I checked online and quickly found what I wanted in the Edinburgh Gazette.
So far, so disappointingly easy.
However, my enquirer soon got back to me. The Order in Council stated:
On the chart accompanying this Order are marked all the limits referred to therein.
“On the chart”? There was no chart reproduced in the Edinburgh Gazette. I had a quick check in the National Records of Scotland online catalogue but they don’t seem to hold anything on this Order. I decided to try contacting the Privy Council Office – the first time I’ve done so. I emailed and explained my request. Today I got a lovely wee message back:
We have searched our archive records and managed to find a copy of the chart. Unfortunately it is extremely large – much too big for our copier and scanner.
Therefore we have done a ‘cut and paste’ job and I am putting a paper copy in the post to you.
I fervently hope any cutting was only figurative in nature. I would hate to be in anyway connected to the disassembly of a 102 year old sea chart…
Anyway, after a wee bit of treasure-hunting and the help of the friendly folk at the PCO, my patchwork chart is in the post it seems. I really do love these old ones 🙂