The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) compiled the first catalogue of its archives in 1796. For a long time, the records were for their exclusive use. Only a few favoured outsiders were permitted to see them. In the 1920s HBC's head office in London, England, motivated by what they considered "[a] duty to make our information available to the people of Canada," began to arrange and describe records for public access. For several decades, staff of the Archives Department in London provided invaluable assistance to researchers.
HBC's head office was transferred to Canada in 1970. In 1973, HBC agreed to place its records on long term loan with the Archives of Manitoba in Winnipeg. The archives were shipped to Canada in 1974 and opened to the public the next year. On January 27, 1994, thanks to the HBC's donations of its records, the Archives of Manitoba became the permanent home of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives. HBCA is supported by the Hudson's Bay Company History Foundation and the Province of Manitoba.
The vault at the HBC Archives in London, ca. 1933