Access to Archives
- Archives Hub does not hold archives; we provide descriptions of archives held in repositories across the UK
- You need to contact archive repositories directly for more information about their collections
- Every description links to the contact details and location of the holding repository.
- You need to visit a repository to consult physical materials, or enquire directly with them about obtaining copies
- Some collections are digital or partly digital and you may be able to access them online, but the Hub might not provide direct access to all the digital content a repository has
- Repositories send us descriptions as and when they wish to do so, which means we may not reflect all of their holdings, but for many of our contributors we do describe the vast majority of their archives.
If you are new to archives you may like to look at our Guide to Using Archives.
Collections typically consist of things like journals, diaries, letters, research papers, business ledgers, photographs, postcards and ephemera such as playbills and advertisements.
You usually need to order the materials that you want to consult and you can only access them in the reading room of the repository (see our tips for visiting an archive).
You may be able to take photographs or order photocopies, but this will be down to the policy of the repository and the condition of the material.
The Archives Hub provides links to digital content, where the institution has added these. Sometimes the links fail because the content has been moved. Unfortunately we have no control over this.
- only a proportion of descriptions include images or links to digital content; most archives are not digital or digitised
- Some collections include digital content but the description on the Hub may not indicate this - we can only work with the descriptions that we have
- a collection described on the Hub may just include one image, to demonstrate the type of holdings within the collection
- some collections are described item-by-item and you may get a selection of items that include links to digital content
- you will often get a link to take you to the repository's own site, where you can see more content
We are continuing to add more descriptions that include digital content. This includes both paper-based archives that have been digitised and archives that are born digital. We have a filter by digital content. This includes all descriptions with any images or links to digital content, even if it is just a single image.
If you believe that an archive does include digital materials, you need to contact the holding repository to find out more. Use the link to email the repository.
See our section in the Beginner's Guide for information about visiting an archive.
If you are in doubt about any aspect of visiting or consulting an archive collection, it is a good idea to check with the repository you are visiting before setting off.
Every description on the Archives Hub has a link to the repository page
The repository page gives all of the contact information
NOTE: You may have reached this page from an individual repository site, in which case the materials will be held at the repository in question, and you can contact them directly for more information.