Peruvian Corporation Archives

Scope and Content

Archives of the Peruvian Corporation, 1849-1967, comprising the surviving records accumulated at the London Office of the Peruvian Corporation. The bulk of the collection is an accumulation of files, most of which are dated after 1930, with a large proportion dating from the last ten years of the Corporation's history. Of more special note is the unusual series of photograph albums, with photographs of railways, scenery, locomotives and rolling stock dating from the early years of the 20th century. It is clear that the Corporation regularly destroyed groups of non-current records, and further papers were destroyed just before the collection reached the Library, so many expected series do not appear (for example, there are very few financial records). Apart from a full series of Annual Reports and some legal documents, there is very little material relating to the Peruvian Bondholders' Committee or to the early days of the Corporation.

Administrative / Biographical History

On 20 March 1890 the Peruvian Corporation Ltd was registered under the Companies Act, with a Board of Directors of ten members under the Chairmanship of Sir Alfred Dent. G A Ollard, of Smiles and Co Solicitors, was Manager in London, and T E Webb was Secretary, with Clinton Dawkins as the first representative in Peru. The Corporation was founded to cancel the Peruvian external debt and to release the Government of Peru from loans it had taken out through bondholders in 1869, 1870 and 1872, to finance railway construction. On 20 June 1907 the Government made a new contract with the Corporation whereby the Corporation was to construct three railway lines by September 1908. In return, the life of the concession was extended for a further 17 years. After these lines had been built, the Peruvian Corporation practically ceased building additional mileage, and subsequent construction was undertaken almost entirely by the Peruvian Government. By an agreement of 1928 the railways became the absolute property of the Corporation, subject to the surrender by the Corporation of their right to export guano, and the remaining annual payments due from the Government, and to the Corporation's making a payment of £247,000. A new arrangement was prepared in 1955, whereby a company incorporated in Canada as the 'Peruvian Transport Corporation Ltd' would acquire and hold all the outstanding share capital of the Peruvian Corporation Ltd. The Peruvian National Railways (Empresa Nacional de Ferrocarriles del Peru - ENAFER) were formed in September 1972, and taken over by the Government in December of that year.


The bulk of the papers comprises printed reports and circulars (Ref: A); working files (Ref: B); and legal documents (Ref: C).

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Deposited on permanent loan by the Corporation in February 1965, except for all the legal documents which were transferred from Smiles & Co, the Corporation's solicitors, in 1972.

Other Finding Aids

Published handlist 'The Archives of the Peruvian Corporation' compiled by Janet Percival (The Library, University College London, Occasional Publications no 7, 1980). See also 'A Guide to Manuscript Sources for the History of Latin America and the Caribbean in the British Isles', ed Peter Walne (Oxford University Press, London, 1973). A full catalogue is currently being added to the online catalogue. Please contact Special Collections for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal copyright restrictions apply.