Planning your visit

When can I visit the archives office?

You can find out how to get to the the office here

You can find out when we are open here

Anyone can use the archives for free, but we do charge for some services.

What do I need to do before my visit?

Register as a new user online

You can register here. You can add documents to your wish list prior to your arrival. Please note that we cannot retrieve the documents until you arrive, but don’t worry all records are stored onsite and it won’t take us long to get them. We do operate a restricted service between 11.45am and 2pm when we cannot retrieve original documents.

Book to use the searchroom

You do not always need to make an appointment, but it is a good idea to book before your visit if you are travelling any distance, or if you would like to book a microfilm reader or a computer.

You will need to book a microfilm reader or computer in advance if you would like to look at records such as:

  • census returns from 1841-1911 (PC or microfilm)
  • parish registers  (PC or microfilm)
  • newspapers  (microfilm)
  • Tithe apportionments (microfilm)

If you book a computer for your visit, you will be able to use Ancestry.com and Findmypast.co.uk for free.

Book a place in the searchroom here.

Search the catalogue

It is important to plan ahead so that you can make the most of your time at the archives office when you visit. There are thousands of records available on our online catalogue which provide information about what we hold. You can search the online catalogue before you arrive and add records you want to consult to your wishlist.

Read the rules

Like all archive services, we have searchroom rules to help protect our unique records. These rules include things like not eating or drinking in the searchroom and using pencils only. Read the full searchroom rules here.

What do I need to bring with me when I visit?

Identification

You will need a County Archives Research Network (CARN) reader’s ticket to use the service. You will still need to do this even if you have registered online in advance.

Specimen CARN ticket

You will need to bring your reader’s ticket with you every time you visit the archives office.

If you don’t already have a ticket, or your ticket has expired, please bring proof of identity with you. You will need two forms of identity: a proof of name with a valid signature and a proof of address.

Acceptable forms of identity

Proof of your name with valid signature

  • Driving licence
  • Passport
  • Utility bill
  • Bank card
  • Credit card

Proof of current address

  • Utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Credit card statement
  • Council tax bill
  • Driving licence with address

Unfortunately we cannot accept UK passports alone as proof of identity, because they do not show your address. Reader’s tickets are issued free of charge.

Pencils

You should also bring paper and a pencil to make notes. Pens are not allowed.

Equipment

You can bring a laptop or tablet to work on, but there are no power sockets available, so please make sure your battery is fully charged before you arrive.  We also have access to free wifi.

Cameras are allowed with no flash, or any sound that may disturb other researchers.  You will be asked to complete a permission form for digital photography, and pay our standard charge.