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:
- Visitor guidelines (PDF)
- Using the searchroom (PDF)
- Ordering archives (PDF)
- Copying and publishing our records (PDF)
We don’t need you to bring formal ID but we require all visitors to sign in.
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.
- 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
- Microform readers: many popular records, such as parish registers, are available on self-service microfiche/film
- A library of local history books
Other visitor facilities
- A 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
- B Bond Warehouse has disabled parking spaces and step-free access
- Public areas of the building, including our searchroom, are fully wheelchair accessible
- Disabled toilets available
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
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:
- £5.50 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.
Our searchroom is a place for quiet study but we are happy to welcome groups on request. Please see our talks, tours and group visits page for details and fees.
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.
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