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Francis Needham - The First Clerk of the Records -1946


Contrary to popular belief Maurice Bond was not the first Clerk of the Records; the inaugural incumbent was Francis Needham (1900-1971). The House of Lords Hansard for 13th February 1946 notified his appointment ‘to be Clerk in charge of the historical records of the House' however, by 18th December 1946 the House was informed of his resignation.

It was said that he was disheartened by the prospect of reorganizing the dark and dirty Tower interior. The Clerk of the Parliaments, Sir Henry Badeley, instructed him to find his own successor so Needham wrote to historian Professor A. Hamilton Thompson who recommended Bond.


Though a short-lived tenure, Needham did oversee returning Parliamentary records to the Victoria Tower after they had been stored, during the war, at Laverstock House. The drawing room had been an unlikely storage space while manuscripts held in the basement had suffered from damp conditions.  Needham became a librarian and his papers are held at the Bodleian Library.