Bristol Archives has reopened.
The searchroom will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and visits must be pre-booked. We are really looking forward to welcoming you back.
About Bristol Archives
We welcome anyone who wants to use our collections and ask for research advice. Our service is open to everyone, free of charge, but you must book an appointment to visit us.
Whether you are new to Bristol Archives or you have visited many times before, please take some time to read the information on this page before you visit us.
How do I book an appointment?
The searchroom is open between 9.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 4.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It will not be open between 12.30pm – 1.30pm. We hope to increase the number of days we’re open as the Government’s roadmap progresses.
During the booking process you will need to order the first two documents you wish to see. This ensures a prompt service for you. You can order further documents in consultation with searchroom staff, at the two production times during your session.
We will contact you on the telephone number you provide upon booking if there are any issues with the documents you have ordered in advance.
In line with government guidance, the personal details you provide upon booking may be used to support the NHS Test and Trace process to control the spread of coronavirus. This data will be held by us for 21 days and then deleted.
After booking, you will receive an email confirmation that you will need to show us when you arrive. You don’t need to print it – just show it to us on your mobile phone.
Unfortunately we cannot take telephone bookings for Bristol Archives at the moment.
Can I change what documents I ordered after booking?
If you would like to change the documents you’ve ordered in advance, please email us at [email protected] no less than two days before your visit and we will try to accommodate the change.
What if I have to cancel my appointment?
Please cancel your appointment via your Eventbrite booking as soon as possible so we can release your time slot for someone else.
What safety measures do you have in place?
We’ve implemented a number of changes to keep our visitors and staff safe:
- All visits must be booked in advance.
- We’re limiting the number of visitors each day.
- Floor markers and signage is in place to enable social distancing. Please help us by staying two metres apart.
- Visitors and staff are required to wear face coverings unless they are exempt.
- There are perspex screens between staff and public areas
- The searchroom is large and well-ventilated and tables are spaces two metres apart
- Rigorous cleaning during and at the end of each day, including washrooms
- Provision of hand sanitiser in addition to sinks in the toilets for hand washing
Do I have to wear a face covering?
Yes, unless you are exempt. We cannot provide face coverings to visitors.
Do I need to bring ID?
Yes, we need to see some ID to help maintain our archive’s security.
What happens when I arrive?
Please arrive no more than five minutes before your appointment. The Create Café is closed and there is nowhere in the building for you to wait, or places to eat a packed lunch. We cannot accommodate groups of people gathering in our foyer.
We would like our customers to wash their hands with soap and water before entering the searchroom, not use hand sanitiser. Sanitiser can leave a sticky residue on your hands which may transfer to our precious documents and damage them. Please do not bring your own bottles of sanitiser into the searchroom. There are handwashing facilities in the toilets by the exhibition in our foyer.
After washing your hands, come into the searchroom, show us your booking and ID and we will give you a table number. We allocate a table to you depending on the size/nature of the documents you have ordered. You will also be allocated one of our searchroom PCs to use if you don’t have a laptop with you.
To retrieve the documents you have ordered, please come to the production desk, standing back from the counter and we will give you your first item. As usual, you will only be able to view one item at a time. When you have finished with the item, place it on the return desk.
What can I bring with me into the searchroom and where can I leave my belongings?
There are lockers outside the entrance to the searchroom.
When you arrive, please put your belongings into a locker. Use the clear plastic bag inside the locker to take the things you need (laptop, pencils, paper, camera, wallet) into the searchroom. Then wash your hands!
You can bring pencils, paper, and personal devices (laptop / tablet / phone / camera) and ID.
If you want to use the audio-visual media station, please bring your own headphones. Please leave all other personal items in a locker.
What facilities will be available?
- Toilets and disabled toilets with hand washing facilities
- Disabled parking spaces and step-free access
- Public areas of the building, including our searchroom, are fully wheelchair accessible
- Spacious reader tables, with dedicated spaces for maps and large documents
- Free wifi and power for your laptop and devices
- Public computers with free access to Ancestry and 19th Century Newspapers
- A media computer for access to our digitised film and image collections. This will be allocated to you based on your document order.
- Microform readers: many popular records, such as parish registers, are available on self-service microfiche/film. These will be allocated to you based on your document order.
- A library of local history books
What if I want a copy of a document?
We can provide photocopies of documents and fiche for a charge in the searchroom.
You can request for documents to be digitised as per our usual copy order service.
We charge a photography licence fee to visitors who want to take photographs of material in our searchroom using any device. The current fees are:
- £5.50 for a daily licence
- £16.50 for a weekly licence
- £100 for an annual licence
Please note that we cannot allow the use of any kind of scanning devices as these can be harmful to documents.
The charge does not apply to anyone wishing to photograph material they have deposited with us.
All visitors who take photographs need to complete a copyright declaration form, in order to comply with regulations. If you plan to publish your photographs in any form (including on social media), please contact us to ask for our permission. Reproduction fees may apply.
Payment for all services will be by contactless only.
Will I be able to access the reference library?
Yes, you may browse the reference library.
Will Bristol and Avon Family History Society be available to help me with my research?
The Bristol and Avon Family History Society (BAFHS) plan to reopen their room from the beginning of June following the reopening of our searchroom.
For further information about their opening times and how to book an appointment with BAFHS, please visit the Bristol and Avon Family History Society website.
I have material I want to deposit with Bristol Archives. Can I bring it with me on my visit to the searchroom?
Please do not bring anything you want to deposit in the Archives with you to your searchroom visit.
If you have something you want to deposit, please email [email protected] and we will get in touch to make the necessary arrangements. We will not accept any materials you bring with you to the searchroom.