Your visit

We welcome anyone who wants to use our collections and ask for research advice. Our service is open to everyone, free of charge. Use this page to plan your visit.

Watch this five minute film to find out about visiting our public searchroom.

Planning your visit

Like all archives, we ask you to follow our guidelines and procedures so that we can protect documents. Please read the following leaflets before your visit:

We don’t need you to bring formal ID but we require all visitors to sign in.

You don’t need to make an appointment to visit us, but please do check our opening times and contact us in advance to confirm that we have the records you need.

The searchroom is not a suitable place for very young children. However we have a rest area in our foyer where they can be supervised by a guardian.

Facilities

  • Our searchroom – find out what’s in the searchroom for you to use
  • Rest area where you can eat your own food with a drinks machine
  • Café in the Create Centre which is located within the same building

 Access to records

  • Most records are freely available, but access to some documents may be restricted by law or at the request of their owners
  • We may restrict the number of documents you can use at any one time
  • In order to protect our documents, we occasionally need to refuse access to material or to impose restrictions on the use of any item

Taking photographs

We charge a photography licence fee to visitors who want to take photographs of material in our searchroom using any device. The current fees, payable by cash, cheque or debit/credit card are:

  • £5 for a daily licence
  • £15 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.

Paid search service

If you can’t visit our searchroom, we offer a paid service. We can search for specific information in archive records for £13.00 for up to 30 minutes (£26 commercial rate) or £26 for up to an hour (£52 commercial rate), for a maximum of two hours. For more details, please contact us.

School visits

Carry out a local history study of your school with your class. Learn the skills of an Archivist and delve into the history of your local area with our new learning package available to Bristol schools.

My School: A local history study