Recently, I put in an Freedom of Information (FOI) request to review a couple of closed records. Both documents were from the series HO 405: Aliens Personal Files, Applications for Naturalisation and both related to brothers Bernard Delfont and Lew Grade. They were famous in the last century for their pioneering work in the entertainment industry, Bernard as a theatre impresario and Lew in commercial television production, after the birth of ITV in 1954.
The files in HO 405 relate to individual foreign citizens (mostly European) who who applied for naturalisation after 1934. All files include an application for naturalisation with police reports. Some also include an initial application for visa or employment permit, change of name or business name and Second World War internment papers. Files were opened when the individual first applied to enter the UK and continue until naturalisation or death.
The series, together with earlier case papers in HO 1, HO 45 and HO 144, is one of the largest and most popular collections of original records at The National Archives, with nearly 140,000 case papers primarily in the period from 1844 to the 1960s. The certificates of naturalisation to which they relate are available without any restriction to access in the series HO 334. But the files in HO 405 are normally closed for 100 years and are only opened earlier on request following a review and proof that the individual concerned is deceased. Continue reading »