The Archive will be closed on Monday 27th May for the Bank Holiday

Accessible to all for in-person research

A colour image of a hands turning pages in a book.

To access the collection for in-depth research, please identify the items you’re interested in by using our Archive Catalogue and then get in touch by email, quoting the archive reference numbers.

Depending on the amount and type of material you wish to consult, we will either provide digital access or invite you to make an appointment to consult material in our Reading Room.

Plan in advance

Contact us about what you want to see

Send us an email about the items you are interested in, including the archive reference numbers.

If scanning isn’t possible or appropriate for the items you’re interested in, or you would prefer to consult material in person, we’ll invite you to make an appointment to visit our Reading Room. We can only provide Reading Room access or copies of open access materials.

Using our scanning service

We can provide scans as jpg or pdf files – we can’t guarantee the dpi of these scans but we will ensure they are legible. We’ll aim to have your scans ready within two weeks but will let you know if it’s going to be longer. Some items may not be suitable for scanning, we’ll suggest alternatives where possible.

Scanned materials will be provided for personal research purposes only – any request to reproduce or publish material from the archive must be made in writing.

Visiting the Reading Room

Opening hours

Research slots are typically 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 4pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Booking a place

Reading Room places must be booked in advance as space is limited and we require advance notice to retrieve archive items from our strongroom. Any material you would like to see during your visit must be requested at least two working days in advance.


The Reading Room has level access, a height-adjustable desk for wheelchair users, task lighting and a range of support aids to help researchers when working with archives of different formats. For more information about accessibility at the Archive please visit our Plan Your Visit page.

What to expect in the Reading Room

What happens when I arrive?

You’ll be welcomed at Reception, let us know that you’ve come to use the Reading Room and you’ll be shown where to go. The archivist will be on hand to provide help or answer any questions. If the material you’re looking at needs to be handled with special care, the archivist will explain how to do this and provide protective gloves if required. We provide a quiet place to work with plenty of space for the archives you are consulting.

What can I bring into the Reading Room?

You can bring your laptop or tablet, notes and pencils into the Reading Room. We ask that pens, bags, food and drink are left in the lockers provided behind Reception.

Can I take photos or make copies of the archives?

You are welcome to take your own images of the archives you’re consulting in the Reading Room for your personal research use, upon completion of a Reprographics form. No reprographics charge applies if you are taking your own images, photocopying and scanning services are available upon request, subject to charges.

If you wish to reproduce or publish images in any way (including articles, books, exhibitions, broadcast media, website or social media), you must make a request in writing.

What if I need a break?

We have a small refreshment area with hot drink-making facilities where you can take a break. We don’t have a café so you’re welcome to bring your own food.