Using the Searchroom

Our main responsibility is to preserve the records in our care, so that they will be available for research not just today but in centuries to come. You can help us by following a few simple rules:

When you arrive at the Archives

  • please sign the reader’s register when you arrive in the Searchroom
  • give your valid County Archives Readers Network (CARN) reader's ticket to Searchroom staff, who will return it when you leave the Searchroom
  • please turn off your mobile phone before entering the search room
  • only use pencil whilst in the searchroom 
  • do not bring food or drink into the searchroom - there is a refreshment area in the arcade where you can purchase snacks and cold/hot drinks from the cafe
  • leave coats, bags and all personal belongings in one of the secure lockers provided.
  • documents should be treated with the utmost care, do not lean on them or apply unnecessary pressure and do not take any documents out of the searchroom.
  • please do take care to keep files and bundles of documents in the order in which they were given to you. If you wish to have an item copied, please ask a member of staff for a marker slip to identify the specific page(s).
  • if you are reading a volume please use one of the cushions or book rests to support it, we also have special document weights to use with rolled maps and plans.
  • due to the risk of causing damage to documents during handling and scanning, the use of portable scanners is not allowed. We do offer a range of reprographic services.
  • documents are issued every half hour (at quarter to and quarter past the hour), so please bear in mind if you have not ordered in advance there will be a short wait before your documents are ready. On Saturdays there is no collection between 11.45am and 2.15pm. The final collection of the day is normally 45 minutes before the Searchroom closes.

The use of laptops and digital cameras is allowed. However there is a charge for using a digital camera and you will be asked to complete a copyright form.

Lastly, please respect other users and members of staff and try to keep noise to a minimum. The searchroom is a place of quiet research, and the nature of the documents often requires intense concentration. It is unfair to disturb other researchers' working environment.