Site facilities

We offer reading aids to people who are partially sighted for use in the reading rooms. We do not hold Braille versions of the records. Individuals with little or no sight are advised to bring an assistant who can read or take photographs of documents.

The following accessible research facilities are available in the reading rooms:

Magnifying equipment

We recommend a range of magnifying equipment for use in our reading rooms:

  • Magnifying glasses – of which there is only a limited number available in the reading rooms, so we recommend that you bring your own
  • Sheet magnifiers – we sell these in our bookshop on the ground floor
  • Electronic document magnifiers – these link to screens using CCTV-type technology, which enlarges the text. They can’t be used to read original documents but can be used with books, publications and indexes
  • Ultra-violet (UV) lamps – may be used for a limited time to read faint writing (please ask staff for help). The lamps are located in the Map and Large Document Reading Room, but you can arrange to use them on the first floor. UV lamps must be signed out to readers due to health and safety regulations
  • Magnification and reading software – some PCs in the Research and Enquiries Room have ZoomText software installed to enlarge on-screen text and images. Ask a member of staff which PCs have the software and how to use it
  • Microfilm and microfiche readers – these can magnify up to x 40 and have focus controls

Accessible PCs

Accessible PCs, which have a large mouse and keyboard, are available in the ‘Start here’ area on the first floor. Please ask a member of staff where they are located.

Sign language

We have members of staff who can sign. Please note that they may not be available at all times.

Our website has a wide selection of podcast talks, a variety of which have British Sign Language video versions available.

Headphones

Some of the PCs in the ‘Start here’ area on the first floor have headphone sockets. Headphones are available at the ‘Start here’ desk.

Induction loop systems

The National Archives has induction loop systems at most enquiry desks (Readers Registration Desk, Open Reading Room, Research Enquiries desks, Document Reading Room Information desk, Map and Large Document Reading Room) and in the Talks Room. Please contact us for further information.

Accessible toilets

There are wheelchair accessible toilets on all floors of The National Archives. All of our accessible toilets have level access, some from the lift. The toilet doors are 910mm wide, there is 1200mm in front of the toilet, and the seat is 425mm high with handrails.

Our accessible toilets are located in the following areas:

The Public Restaurant toilets (Ground floor)

These are toilets for men and women in the Public Restaurant area on the ground floor, with an accessible toilet inside.

Security Control Room (Ground floor)

This is a public toilet for visitors with accessibility needs. This is also a Changing Places (add link) toilet. The toilet is located opposite the Security Control Room, located to the right of the main entrance.

First floor lift area

This is a public toilet for visitors with accessibility needs. The toilet is located by the lift outside the Research and Enquiries Room on the first floor, with level access.

Library accessible toilets (First floor)

These are public toilets for visitors with accessibility needs. They are located near the library area in the Research and Enquiries Room on the first floor.

Second floor lift area

This is a public toilet for visitors with accessibility needs. The toilet is located by the lift outside the Map and Large Document Reading Room on the second floor, with lift access.

Download our accessibility guide