Useful publications about the history of HM Revenue and Customs

researcher making notes from museum documents

Please note that the Border Force National Museum (known as Seized! The Border and Customs Uncovered) is not able to hold public records. If they still exist, you will find them at the National Archives (London), or in the relevant County Records Office.


A few important documents about the history of HM Revenue and Customs are in the Maritime Archives at Merseyside Maritime Museum.

The main subjects are covered in the following information sheets written by the Maritime Archives. They include frequently asked questions and details of further sources of information. 

Issues surrounding contemporary slavery and people trafficking can be seen on the International Slavery Museum section of this website.

Further information - book list

If you would like to find out more about the history of the Customs and Excise we have a downloadable book list - Maritime Archives and Library Information Sheet 72.

Please note that the book list does not currently cover immigration and asylum.

two stones attached to lengths of rope

Sinking stones

Departmental structure changes

Please note that the department has gone through many changes over the last century.

  • Before 1909 Customs and Excise were separate departments. Excise was under the control of the Board of Inland Revenue.
  • Between 1909 - 2005 HM Customs & Excise existed. Inland Revenue and Immigration were separate departments.
  • In 2005 HM Customs & Excise merged with Inland Revenue to establish HM Revenue and Customs.
  • In 2009 the border protection role of HM Revenue and Customs was merged with Immigration to form UK Border Agency, which later became UK Border Force. The tax collecting activities remain with HM Revenue and Customs.

Border Force National Museum Library

The museum has a library containing published material about the history and work of the HM Revenue and Customs. The library is available for researchers during normal office hours by appointment only.

Do you need any further help?

We hope this information was useful, but if you have any further queries please see Useful websites for researchers or contact us:

Border Force National Museum
Merseyside Maritime Museum
Albert Dock
Liverpool waterfront
L3 4AQ

Tel 0151 478 4507  

Send an email using this contact form.