What we do

We collect and secure the future of the government record, from Shakespeare’s will to tweets from Downing Street, to preserve it for generations to come, making it as accessible and available as possible.

Find out more about:

Our statement of public task

You can read our statement of public task below, which we have published in line with the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015.

Statement of public task (PDF, 0.33 MB)

What we hold

Our collection is one of the largest in the world, containing over 11 million historical government and public records. From Domesday Book to modern government papers and digital files, our collection includes paper and parchment, digital records and websites, photographs, posters, maps, drawings and paintings.

As a general rule, government records that have been selected for permanent preservation are sent to us when they are 30 years old, though the government has begun its move towards releasing records when they are 20 years old. Many are also transferred to us earlier under the Freedom of Information Act.

Find out more about the records we hold.

Finding what you’re looking for

Our research guides can help you find the sources you need, as well as tutorials to help you read old documents.

We do not hold or issue copies of birth, marriage or death certificates. Visit the GOV.UK website to order these certificates. Find out more about which records we don’t hold.