What can I take into the reading rooms?

To help us preserve the records for future generations, please observe our guidance for using the reading rooms and handling documents.

  • no-coats No coats, bags or umbrellas – please leave in the lockers provided on the ground floor
  • no-foodNo food, drink, sweets or gum
  • no-sharp-objectsNo sharp objects
  • use-pencilUse pencils without erasers
  • headphonesKeep sound levels low when using headphones
  • no-pensNo pens
  • mobile-silentEnsure your mobile is on silent mode
  • laptop-sound-offEnsure your laptop has the sound off
  • camera-sound-offEnsure the sound and flash are turned off on your camera
  • handle-with-careAlways handle the documents with care

A complete list of rules is available from the welcome desk, the Enquiry Service Manager or online.


You can use your hand-held camera, smart phone, tablet or laptop to take still images of some documents. We provide camera stands in our reading rooms with a standard screw-in mount, or you can use universal adapters that enable smart phones or tablets to use these stands.

You may not use any device that scans images, or that has an integral or external stand or extension (such as a tripod or selfie stick).

Flash photography is not permitted. Copyright applies to all records: please ask at the record copying help desks for details.


Suitcases and other items that are too large to fit inside our lockers are not allowed inside the building: please make arrangements to leave luggage elsewhere. Our lockers can accommodate items with a maximum size of 43 cm x 42 cm x 24 cm. Nearby luggage storage providers can be found by searching on www.stasher.com.

Lost Property

If you leave something behind, please contact us to see if it has been handed in. We normally keep lost property for one month.