Accessible reading room facilities

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

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

Microfilm and microfiche readers

Microform readers can magnify up to 40x and have focus controls. They are all located in the Research and Enquiries Room.

Magnifying glasses

We recommend that you bring your own magnifying glasses; however, there are a limited number available to borrow in the reading rooms.

Sheet magnifiers

You can buy sheet magnifiers in our shop on the ground floor.

Electronic document magnifiers

Electronic magnifiers 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 lamps

Ultra-violet (UV) lamps may be used for a limited time to read faint writing - ask staff for help. The lamps are located in the Map and Large Document Reading Room, but can be arranged for use on the first floor. UV lamps must be signed out to readers due to health and safety regulations.

Accessible PCs

Accessible PCs, with a large mouse and keyboard, are available in the Research and Enquiries Room. Please ask a member of staff where the PCs are located.

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.

Signing at The National Archives

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

Talks on our website

Our website has a wide selection of podcast talks to listen to, a variety of which have British Sign Language versions available. Many of the PCs - including all in the cyber café - have headphones.