Why do I have to book my visit?

We are now offering a limited research service to visitors who need access to our collection of original documents for their research, and visits must be booked in advance. We are now able to provide access to our first floor document reading room and second floor map and large document reading room – you must specify which reading room you wish to use when you book.

A small number of consecutive two-day appointments in both reading rooms are now available for visitors wishing to research bulk document orders (between 20 and 40 documents from the same record series). Appointments are available for Tuesday/Wednesday and Thursday/Friday only.

Visits must be booked at least a week in advance, and will be made available two weeks before the date of the visit, on a rolling weekly basis every Monday morning at 10:00. Each booking is for one person only on a first come, first served basis – you will not be able to bring anyone with you, unless they book a visit themselves. Please be considerate of others when you book – we may cancel your booking if you exceed our reasonable limit of one booking per week, unless you have booked a two-day bulk order visit.

We will not permit anyone to enter the building who has not pre-booked a visit, so please do not travel if you have not been able to book as we will not be able to let you in.

We are able to offer a small number of camera stands for use in the reading rooms – these must also be booked in advance.

We will ask everyone booking a visit to agree to a new coronavirus visitor charter, aimed at encouraging all visitors to do their bit to help us ensure everyone’s safety. Due to a change in the law, all visitors are now required to wear face coverings during their visit.

Please note that we are currently unable to provide many of our usual reading room services, including access to microfilm and microfiche, research advice, copying and access to our computers.

Book a visit

We will release bookings for the following week next Monday morning.