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Thursday 23 March 2017

The Keeper of the Records of Scotland

The Keeper of the Records of Scotland is one of the statutory titles of the Chief Executive of the National Records of Scotland, Mr Tim Ellis, who took up his appointment in February 2013.

The National Records of Scotland (NRS) was formed on 1 April 2011 by the merger of the National Archives of Scotland (NAS), headed by the Keeper of the Records of Scotland, with the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), headed by the Registrar General for Scotland. NRS is a non-ministerial department within the responsibility of the Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture.

The Keeper of the Records of Scotland is responsible to the Scottish Ministers for the management of certain functions of the NRS, and to the Lord President of the Court of Session for the efficient management of the court and other legal records in Scotland. The office of Keeper of the Records of Scotland was created in 1949, although its antecedents date back to the 13th century.

Image of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland, Tim Ellis.


The first reference to a government official responsible for looking after the records dates from 1286. William of Dumfries was a clerk of the rolls of the royal 'chapel' or chancery. This office was later to develop into that of Lord Clerk Register. In 1806 the office of Deputy Clerk Register was created to oversee the day-to-day running of the office. The appointment of Thomas Thomson to the post laid the foundation of the modern record office. His thirty-five year term of office saw a programme of cataloguing and repair of the older records and the start of a series of record publications. Read more about the history of the NRS.

Mr Tim Ellis

Before his appointment as Keeper of the Records of Scotland, Tim Ellis was Head of the Cabinet Secretariat, which is responsible for supporting effective, collective decision-making by Ministers, through the Scottish Cabinet, and for the corporate governance of the Scottish Government by the Scottish Government's senior management team, the Strategic Board. Before that, Tim headed the Housing Investment Division, which develops new and improved affordable housing. He spent his earlier career in several strategic roles in the Scottish Government and in Whitehall. You can find out more about his roles as Registrar General and Chief Executive of NRS by following the links provided.

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 19 March 2013

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