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Sarah Jacqueline Tyacke, CB, FSA, FRHistS, FRGS (née Jeacock; born 29 September 1945) is a British historian of cartography and travel, and a former librarian and archivist. From 1991 to 2005 she served as Keeper of Public Records and Chief Executive of the Public Record Office of the United Kingdom, and in this role oversaw the office's transition to become the new National Archives in 2003.

Sarah Jacqueline Tyacke

Sarah Jeacock

(1945-09-29) 29 September 1945 (age 73)
Chelmsford, Essex
OccupationHistorian, archivist
Known forHistorian, Keeper of Public Records
TitleKeeper of Public Records
Spouse(s)Nicholas Tyacke


Early life and educationEdit

Tyacke was born as Sarah Jeacock in Chelmsford, Essex, on 29 September 1945: her father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all been headmasters.[1] She was educated at Chelmsford County High School for Girls, and went on to study History at Bedford College, University of London, graduating in 1968. During vacations, from 1962 to 1968, she worked as a volunteer at Essex Record Office.[2]


In 1968, Tyacke started work as an Assistant Keeper in the Map Room of the British Museum. From 1973 to 1985 she was Deputy Map Librarian in what had now become the British Library; and from 1986 to 1991 she was Director of Special Collections in the Library.[2]

At the end of 1991 she was appointed Keeper of Public Records, the first woman to hold the post. Her tenure at the Public Record Office was an eventful one. It included the building of a greatly expanded repository on the office's site at Kew in 1995, and the subsequent removal of services from the old Public Record Office building in Chancery Lane; the opening of the Family Records Centre for family historians in 1997; and the merger of the office with the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts in 2003 to form the new National Archives. At the merger, Tyacke was appointed Chief Executive of The National Archives, and sole Historical Manuscripts Commissioner.[3] She also oversaw numerous technological initiatives, including the launching of the 1901 census website as a pay-per-view service in 2002, and the development of new strategies for dealing with the preservation of born-digital records. She retired in 2005.[2]


Tyacke's personal scholarly interests lie in the history of cartography and travel. She has written or edited a number of books and articles on these subjects, and others on broader archival matters and archival management.[4]

Professional activities and honoursEdit

Tyacke was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1968; of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1984; of the Royal Historical Society in 1992; and of the British Cartographic Society in 1994. She served as President of the Hakluyt Society from 1997 to 2002, and as a Vice-President from 2002 to 2006. She was a Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society from 2000 to 2003, and has been an Honorary Vice-President since 2004. She has also sat on the Council of the Society for Nautical Research.[2]

She was Vice-President of the International Council on Archives from 1996 to 2000. She was a trustee of the International Records Management Trust from 1995 to 2004, and has been its Chair since 2004.

In 1999 she was made an Honorary Fellow and Visiting Professor of Royal Holloway, University of London. She has received honorary doctorates from London Guildhall and Essex Universities.[2]

Tyacke was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1998.[2] On 25 November 2010, she was awarded the President's Medal by the British Academy "for her service to historical records, in particular through her work as head of the National Archives".[5]

Other activitiesEdit

From 2009 to 2011 Tyacke was Chair of the Mount Everest Foundation, a non-profit-making humanitarian and development organisation active in Nepal.

From 2009 to 2012 she sat on the Hillsborough Independent Panel investigating the Hillsborough disaster of 1989.

Personal lifeEdit

Tyacke is married to the early modern historian Nicholas Tyacke. She has one daughter.[2]


  1. ^ Tyacke, Sarah (2002). "On the Record". History Today. 52 (5).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Sarah Tyacke: Biography". Archived from the original on 25 July 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  3. ^ HMC Warrant
  4. ^ "Sarah Tyacke: Publications". Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  5. ^ "British Academy President's Medal" (pdf). British Academy Review (17). March 2011. pp. 13–14. Retrieved 23 July 2017.

External linksEdit