Visiting Us

What you need to know

Location, contact details, opening times

Before your visit

There is no charge to use the service and you don’t need to make an appointment. However, if you can book in advance we can make sure that the items you want to see are ready for you. Some items are held offsite and we may need up to a week to retrieve them for you. Bookings can be made by email or telephone. You can search our catalogues and databases online. If you have never visited before, why not just come in to browse our catalogues, indexes and books? Staff will be happy to help you find your way around, and you will be better prepared for your next visit.

Gather as much information as possible before a visit and bring copies of relevant documents to help us advise you. Please leave plenty of time for your visit, as identifying the records you need and finding information in them can take longer than you think.

Many of our most popular collections have been digitised and are available to search and view online on the subscription site Find My Past. These include parish registers, electoral registers, wills, marriage licences and workhouse registers. Access to Find My Past and some other subscription websites is free at the Record Office on our public access computers.

Summary: access is free, book in advance to have records ready, some items available online, Find My Past can be accessed for free at the Record Office

When you arrive

 The archives we hold are unique and irreplaceable and therefore we have a few guidelines to ensure their safety:

• Please put all bags, coats, food and drink in the locker roomSearchroom
• You are welcome to bring in notes in a see-through folder
• You can use pencils if you need to make notes. No pens.
• You can bring your laptop and digital camera (and chargers)
• We will issue you with a reader's ticket

Summary: only bring pencils, notes, laptop and camera into the searchroom; a reader's ticket will be issued




About our Reader's Ticket

We are part of the CARN Reader's Ticket scheme. This is a national system of registering users of archive services. Your reader's ticket is issued free, valid for four years and gives you access to other participating record offices.

We will ask you to complete an application and we need to see original proof of identity with your name, address and signature. A driving licence is ideal, but, for example, a recent bank statement or utility bill together with a signed bank card would also be suitable. Please note a UK passport does not include your address.

We can issue a temporary ticket if you don't have ID with you or if you forget your reader's ticket, but a temporary ticket can only be used for a maximum of three visits.

Summary: proof of name, address and signature required

Do you need a copy?

BooksYou can use your digital camera or camera phone with no flash. You will need to obtain a camera permit and there is a charge.

We have a copying service. If the item is flat and up to A3, we may be able to do the copying during your visit.

Prints from microfilm and computers are self-service and cost 50p per sheet.

You can use a USB memory stick to download digital documents from public access computers.

Summary: camera permit, copying service, self-service printing available - charges apply

Ordering documents

Documents can be ordered in advance or on the day. Documents are not produced from our strongrooms between noon and 1.30pm. Last orders for documents is at 4.15pm.

Please note some of our collections are held offsite and will need to be ordered in advance. Please contact the Record Office for details.

Summary: documents can be ordered between 9am and noon and 1.30pm and 4.15pm, some items may be offsite