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 room
• 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 an Archives Card
Summary: only bring pencils, notes, laptop and camera into the searchroom; an Archives Card will be issued
About our Archives Card
The Archives Card is a single archive reader’s ticket which gives you access to a wealth of original archive material held in archives across the UK. Anyone aged 14 or over can apply for an Archives Card, which is free of charge and valid for five years.
You can start the simple registration process at www.archivescard.com To complete your registration, you need to visit one of the participating archives within three months of submitting your form with two forms of identity, as listed on the Archives Card website. A member of archives staff will check these are valid and, if so, issue your Card.
To save time on arrival, we recommend that you start your registration online before your visit. Then all you have to do when you visit is prove your ID.
A recent passport-style photograph (head and shoulders only) in electronic form is an essential part of the registration process. You can either add this yourself to your registration form or wait until you visit your chosen archive to complete registration, where a member of staff will take your photograph.
You need to complete the registration process within three months of submitting your form, otherwise your form will be deleted and you will have to enter your details again.
The Archives Card scheme is operated by ARA Commercial, which is a subsidiary of the Archives and Records Association, the leading body for archives in the UK and Ireland.
Summary: start registration online, take ID to record Office to complete registration
Do you need a copy?
You 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
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 3.30pm.
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 3.30pm, some items may be offsite