The Pensions Archive Trust is committed to giving people with an interest in the developmental provision of UK pensions schemes accurate historical material and insightful context and analysis. We invite you to visit our physical archive at the LMA, search our online catalogue, or take advantage of our website’s learning resources and suggestions for further research.

Our materials may be of value for people working in education, commerce, government and the media, including:

  • Students studying for first degree and post-graduate courses
  • Students studying for qualifications in pensions and other related professions
  • Researchers and others working for firms of pensions advisors, investment managers, actuaries, lawyers and accountants
  • Researchers working in academic institutions
  • Historians
  • Employers, trustees and trades unions
  • Politicians and civil servants
  • Parliamentary researchers
  • Journalists and researchers working for the media
  • Other interested writers

Find the collections you are looking for

We hold a number of archived collections and major library holdings, a list of which can be found here. You will find the name of each collection, a reference number, description, the historical period, the location of the records and whether you require an appointment to view them.

Visiting our archive at the LMA

We warmly invite anyone with an interest in the provision of pensions schemes, either historically or in recent years, to visit our physical archive at the LMA. Our collections are managed by a dedicated staff member with the goal of helping people access all relevant documents with ease. To ensure your visit to the LMA is effective, please read our visiting guide here.

Learning resource:

Historical overview

Anyone wanting to analyse the impact or significance of specific milestones and case studies would benefit from first grasping the ‘big picture’ of how the pensions movement evolved over time, as this provides much needed context. You can learn more about the key historical developments in the workplace pensions’ sector on the page: ‘Story of a movement.’ A PDF file with more detailed information is also available for download which may be of help to researchers.

Learning resource:

Policy Guide for Pensions Managers and Trustees

The Pensions Archive Trust has created a free Archival Policy Guide as a reference source for pension trustees and managers. It contains clear advice on how to manage the records created and maintained in the course of administering a pension scheme and guidance on how any material that would be worthy of long-term preservation in an archive should be handled. Although the Archival Policy Guide focuses on pension scheme records, the advice it provides applies equally for records produced by professional bodies, professional service providers or other organisations in the pensions sector. We hope it will be of service to the pensions community.

Digital collections

PAT is in the process of digitising a number of document collections and making these available for review online. As our funds increase, we will be able to expand our online catalogue which will be particularly helpful for those who cannot visit our physical archive in London. In this way we hope to create a truly national resource.

Utilise our Research Guide of pre-existing material at the LMA

In 2012 and five years after PAT formally partnered with the LMA, we completed a year-long survey of the pensions related material already held within the London Metropolitan Archives; this survey unearthed a wealth of information which has now been put together into a Research Guide. The Trust wishes to thank Malcolm Deering for his invaluable work in undertaking this extensive project which is a valuable resource for all pensions researchers.

Information about industry-specific pensions

As part of our work to ensure the history of occupational pensions is preserved and accessible into the future, the Pensions Archive Trust is working to map the holdings of archive material relating to occupational pensions held at archives and record offices around the UK. To date we have gathered extensive information about how pensions evolved in a number of industries, including railways, nursing, motoring and retail.

Learn more about:

Railway pensions

Motor industry pensions

Retail sector pensions

Chocolate and confectionery industry pensions

Unilever pensions

British postal services pensions

Access to materials listed in this directory is at the discretion of individual archives: contact details for each archive are provided on each page. Please note that personnel records are likely to be subject to closures under the Data Protection Act, and company archives may also operate closure periods for other records. The Trust would like to thank all the archives that have co-operated with this work. These pages will expand and develop over time, so please check back for new information or subscribe to our email newsletter.

Further avenues for research

We have compiled a list of organisations that are linked with the Pensions Archive Trust, and who may be able to provide specific information or answer your enquiries relating to State pensions, UK legislation or business archives, to name a few. This list includes direct links to the organisations for ease of use. The link below will take you to the National Archives website where further details can be found.

Around 73% of UK employees had an active workplace pension scheme in 2017, up from less than 47% in 2012 following the legislative enforcement of automatic enrolment.

Office for National Statistics, May 2018 bulletin