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Frequently asked Questions

Q1. What are your opening hours?

We are open (by appointment only) Monday 9.15am – 5pm and Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9am - 5pm.  Our late evening opening on Mondays (5pm-7pm) is by prior appointment only (see below). We are closed on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and on all Bank Holidays.  See Contact the Archives section for more information.

Q2. Do you operate a booking system?

Yes, this is so that we can better manage demand for use of the service by visitors.  We try to keep the system as simple as possible.  However, please contact us by telephone (01234 228833) or email indicating the date you would like to visit and whether am/pm or all day, and the subject of your research - e.g. family history, house history, buildings and land use, general local history, research for educational purposes into... We don't need exact details but if you do know what you want to use feel free to let us know, e.g. maps, correspondence, estate records, parish records, illustrations.  It would be also be useful to know whether you have visited us before.  If you wish to use the service between 5-7pm on a Monday please ensure that you have received confirmation of your booking from us by 4pm the Friday before your intended visit.

Q3. Do you operate a reader's ticket system?

No, but you will be asked to provide your full name and address and to sign up to comply with our Code of Conduct.  Identification may needed to view certain records covered by the Data Protection Act.

Q4. What are your hours for producing documents in the search room?

The ordering service operates from the time we open until 12.45 and from 2pm until half an hour before we close.  We aim to get documents out within 5 minutes of orders being placed unless we are particularly busy or short staffed. 

Q5. Can I order documents in advance of my visit?

This isn't necessary as we cannot get orders out of the stacks until you arrive.  An exception to this is if you are expecting to arrive between 12.45pm and 2pm when the ordering service is not operational.  If you do order in advance for the lunchtime period, then please let us know if you are delayed or if your plans change.

Q6. Is there car-parking on site?

Only for blue badge holders or people delivering or collecting bulky items.  For more information see the Visit Us page.

Q7. What copying facilities do you offer?

We have black and white and colour photocopiers, and can provide digital scans of documents. See our policy on copying and scale of charges for details. We also allow photography in the searchroom, not with flash and for private use, provided documents are not put at risk and you don’t disrupt other visiting users. Please see our scale of charges for details.  For advice on commercial use, copyright, and any other issues etc., please talk to us.

Q8. Can you do research for me?

We can in certain circumstances.  Please see our research and enquiry service.

Q9. Can I order and pay online?

Unfortunately we do not yet have an online ordering facility.  We do have an online payment facility for customers who have already contacted us, agreed payment and received an enquiry number.