Sarah Tyacke CB, FSA, Hon.D.Litt. (London) F R Hist S (Hon VP), Hon D Phil (Guildhall and Essex) Leverhulme Emeritus Research Fellow ( History of Cartography)2005-8 and former  Visiting Professor Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL), Member of Council ( RHUL) Distinguished Senior Research Fellow School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Chair of the International Records Management Trust (IRMT), and of the Foundation for the International Development of Archives (FIDA/ICA) and of the Harley Trustees and formerly of the Mount Everest Foundation ( MEF) 2009-11. Awarded the President’s Medal by the British Academy in 2010.

Former Chief Executive of The National Archives 1991( Dec)-2005 (Oct), incorporating the posts of Keeper of Public Records and Chief Executive of the Public Record Office from 1992 and, from April 2003, the Historical Manuscripts Commissioner to establish The National Archives for
England and Wales and the UK government. Winner in 2004, as head of the new National Archives, of the Longman - History Today award for the promotion of the understanding of history. In July 2004 the National Archives also won the Pilgrim Trust award for its digital archive which first took in digital records and objects in a number of formats was able to preserve them over very long periods of time.


Appointed Keeper of Public Records and Chief Executive of the Public Record Office end 1991. From April 2003 also Historical Manuscripts Commissioner and known as ‘Chief Executive of The National Archives.’ Brought forward national archival legislation for consideration by ministers on the basis of public consultation in 2003 and led the Electronic Document and Records Management (EDRMS) programme as part of the government’s e- government programme, extended to the wider public sector and now reformulated. In consultation with others in the library museum and archival sectors (MLA) a national archival strategy. Also contributed to the implementation of Freedom of Information legislation in respect of historical records and archives ( i.e. those over 30 years old) in January 2005.

· Filled a wide range of additional senior posts in international and national government and non-government organisations eg Vice- President of the International Council on Archives (ICA) 1996-2000, Member of the National Museums Directors Conference (NMDC) executive committee until 2001 and former chair of the National Museums Learning and Education group, chaired the cross- UK Government Inter-departmental Committee( IDAC) on Archival policy and other related matters. Founding member and chair from 2004 of the expert group advising the EU Commission on digital records management and archiving and access across the EU ( known as the ‘DLM Forum’). Contributed to the strategic working party and report for the EU on an Archival Strategy for the new enlarged European Union.

Led the digital ‘Moving Here’ programme, funded by the New Opportunities Fund (£2.5 million) for museums, archives and libraries and the national Access to Archives (A2A) programme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund which widened participation in archival study by the public.

· Set up and chaired the first European Board of the International Council of Archives ( ICA) 1992 – 6 which at that time included the countries of Eastern Europe and the new Russian Federation.

· Appointed Director of Special Collections ( Manuscripts, Maps, Music, Stamps and the India Office Records and Library) British Library 1986-91, responsible for 250 specialist and administrative staff.

· Seconded to British Library Chief Executive’s Office for management reviews of operations, administration and staff in 1982, 1985 and 88. Undertook a Cabinet Office efficiency scrutiny of British Library preservation in 1986.

· Became deputy Map Librarian, British Library 1973-85 combining specialist activities, including publications and exhibitions, with general management experience.

· Training and early career as Assistant Keeper in British Museum as a Map Specialist and historian of exploration and travel.

· Past President and now a trustee of the Hakluyt Society (publisher of original exploration journals), an honorary Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society, former Council member of the Royal Geographical Society and of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Society for Nautical Research.

· Written a number of books and articles on own specialism and articles on archival matters and management, more recently concentrating on online access, learning and access, training and continuous professional development and legislative requirements in the archive and museum field, both nationally and internationally see publications.

CAREER Highlights

Jan 1992 to date
· Brought in the new management structures, systems (eg financial, personnel) and working practices to the PRO according to Agency principles following the 1991 Scrutiny. A charter mark organisation since 1999

· Built the new building at Kew ( on time and to budget) 1995. Awarded various prizes for the construction and environment improvements

· Consolidated the staff and collections at Kew 1996. HMC staff all incorporated Dec 2003.

· Established the Family Record Centre in 1997 as a ‘one-stop shop’ with the Office of National Statistics for family historians (150,000 approx reader visits a year). Front line staff were also awarded a prize in the Civil Service competition ‘Business Matters’ and were invited to Number 10 to meet the Prime Minister in 1997.

· Established the UK data archive for Government digital datasets in partnership with London University Computing Centre 1997.

· Launched the online educational service and ‘The Learning Curve’ online galleries for schools in England and Wales 1998. At present has won 4 awards and is used across the country by teachers and school children and is a registered provided of material for Curriculum Online. ( DfES sponsored)

· Put 9 million PRO catalogue entries (‘metadata’) on to the Internet 1999 onwards as part of the ‘Modernising Government’ agenda.

· Advised ministers on the record and archive implications of Freedom of Information, Data Protection, Welsh Devolution, the waiving of Crown Copyright in unpublished public records etc. 1997 onwards; set up the National Advisory Service for regional and local government and related public sector bodies 2003 ( HMC and PRO components).

· Launched a public consultation document on new records and archival legislation 2003

· Set up and chaired (1995) the Government’s first Interdepartmental Committee on digital records (EDRMS), to enable ministries and agencies to store and access digital public records ( ie departmental records needed for long term historical use) by 2004 and thereafter.

· Set up and chaired the Government’s first Interdepartmental Committee on archival matters, (IDAC) 1997- 2005.

· Launched (with Quinetic) the 1901 census website of some 32 million entries as a pay-per-view service digitally onto the web in 2002. The technical infrastructure was unable to take the demand and it took 6 months to get it sorted. But the site was then a great success and followed by  Documents Online and a number of other innovative digital services for the public worldwide. Work in the British Museum and Library July 1986-Dec 1991 Director of Special Collections, British Library

· Responsible for the Western Manuscript collections, the India Office and Records, the Oriental manuscripts and printed books, the Map and Music Libraries and the Philatelic collections and for 250 staff on two sites. Budget £7m

· Set up the new department from the various separate groups, established cost-centre accounting and a director’s board comprising the heads of the groups.

· Undertook a review of the administration of the British Library with a colleague from MOD, which recommended the centralisation of the administration across the BL, thus cutting local administrative offices.

· Set up the automated cataloguing system for Manuscripts and chaired the Divisional IT committee for London Services

· Responsible for acquiring external funds to purchase manuscripts, maps etc of world class for the collections. In 1991 succeeded in acquiring £1m to purchase the Eighteenth Century Trumbell papers and the Hadyn London Symphonies, assisted by the relevant specialists.

· Vice-Chair of the International Federation of Library Association Professional Board 1986-90 1973- 1986 Deputy Map librarian

· Responsible for the automated cataloguing programme, which I introduced, the purchase of antiquarian maps via private treaty or auction with the Map Librarian, for the exhibition programme with the Map Librarian (one major one a year eg Copernicus and the New Astronomy 1973, Drake 1977, in the Kings Library of the British Museum) and for the staff and management in the absence on the Map Librarian.(eg 3 months 1974). Also responsible for the planning of the new Map Room in the new British Library now opened!

· Seconded to Management 1982. As part of career development undertook a review of staff numbers of the whole of the BL London Division and recommended the reduction of the staff from about 1100 to 900. This was carried out.

· 1985 seconded to the Chief Executive’s Office to undertake a Scrutiny under the Cabinet Office Efficiency Unit, of the Preservation Services of the BL. These were on a number of sites and included a Bindery whose staff were SOGAT members. Devised a way of prioritising the work to be done and the methods to be used and the monitoring necessary to ensure it was and at what cost. Some resistance was encountered but eventually most of the recommendations were accepted and implemented by the Head of the Preservation Service. My report was well received in the Efficiency Unit, and was published internally by the British Library.

1968-1973 Assistant Keeper, Map Room British Museum Appointed AK II by Civil Service Commission in 1968 and allocated to the Map Room.

Trained in cataloguing, map and book specialisms, exhibition preparation, public service, public speaking and writing, publications and all aspects of museum curator-ship.

Also Editor of the British Museum Bulletin for the Friends Prepared own first major exhibition in 1973 for the anniversary of Copernicus’s death ‘ Copernicus and the New Astronomy’ exhibited in the King’s Library British Museum with accompanying published booklet.


BA Hist Hons 2nd Class Bedford College, London University 1968
Chelmsford County High School -Vice School Captain
Council for World Citizenship (CEWC) prize essay- visit to the Ruhr as part of
European Schools study visit. 1963
Taught at a local primary school 1964 and worked as a volunteer in the Essex
Record Office and its education and exhibition out station at Ingatestone Hall
1962-68 in vacations

Professional qualifications/memberships

Companion of the Bath, 1998.
Honorary Fellow and Visiting Professor of Royal Holloway London University1999-
Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society 1968-
Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries 1984-
Fellow of the Royal Historical Society 1992- : Vice President 2000-03; Honorary
Vice-President 2004-
Fellow of the British Cartographic Society 1994-
President of the Hakluyt Society 1997-2002; Vice-President 2002-6;Trustee 2006-
Trustee of the Mappa Mundi 1988-94
Director of Imago Mundi 1980-
A Trustee of the Harley awards in the History of Cartography 1990-; chair 2006-
A Trustee of the International Records Management Trust 1995-2004; Chair April
2004 -
Top Management Programme (Senior Civil Service) (31) 1992
Speaker at the Windsor Leadership Trust November 2003.
French: good spoken and reading, reasonable written; Spanish
Latin: reasonable-reading, Greek, German: limited spoken
Italian: limited to reading with a dictionary
IT Awareness

Windows Office 2003 and Advanced Word 2003
Microsoft FrontPage & HTML

Personal details

Born Chelmsford 29.9.45
Married one daughter
The Reform and other dining clubs
The sea, travel, hill and mountain walking, painting, reading and