Before you visit, please note the following:

  • please book an appointment at least 24 hours in advance of your intended visit

  • you will need to apply for or already have a valid ARA Archive Card to see original archives - we can no longer accept CARN reader's tickets

  • check our guides to catalogues and online catalogue to find the correct document references for records you wish to see

  • order documents you require at the time of booking: check that your documents do not require a further period of advance order (e.g. for those located offsite) 

  • please let us know if your research is for legal purposes: you may need formal permission from the document owners to look at some privately-owned archives in our custody

  • wearing a face covering is no longer mandatory but recommended

  • read our conservation guidance on handling documents and see the guide below

  • your last request for archive productions must be made no later than 30 minutes before lunchtime and end of day closures

  • you may bring in laptops and tablets with chargers

  • you may use your own camera, tablet or smartphone for photographs free of charge providing that flash and sound are disabled and you complete a copyright form, further details on our digital camera web page

  • free public wi-fi is available in all our Archive Centres

  • free public access computers are available in all our Archive Centres (staff will provide you with log on details), with free access to Ancestry and Findmypast; you may use your own memory stick with these PCs

  • a range of family history, local history and relevant reference books are available in our archive centres to support your research

  • if you would like to deposit/donate records, please consult our Depositing Records web page and please make an appointment

Security measures for all users of our searchrooms

On arrival in the Archive Centre ALL bags, briefcases, folders, files, document wallets etc. should be placed in the lockers provided.  Coats and outdoor jackets also need to be hung up on coat hooks. Loose papers, notebooks and pencils may be taken into the searchroom.

These security measures will help us to prevent losses from our collections and safeguard irreplaceable material for the use of future generations of historians and researchers.   We appreciate your understanding and co-operation. Further guidance can be found in our full searchroom rules (PDF 109KB).

Guide to what you can bring into the searchroom:
YesNo - please leave in lockers
Loose papersFolders, files, ring binders and carrier bags of all types
Notepad (A4 or smaller)Document wallets and pouches - opaque or transparent
Laptop computer/tablet
(turned to silent)
Cases for laptops and cameras
Camera (no flash)

Coats and outdoor jackets (a coat stand is provided)

PencilHand-bags, body pouches and bum-bags
Glasses (with case)Pens, markers, correcting fluid, scissors, knives
KeysDocument scanning devices
Mobile phone (if turned off/silent)Food and drink including sweets, cough sweets and chewing gum