The search room is where we produce original documents that have been requested from our repositories. It is always staffed, with a trained team available to offer advice and assistance as required. It’s important to remember that the staff don’t have all the answers, but instead are sign- posts, able to point you towards different sources of information.

How does it work?

The search room operates like an Argos; customers fill in document request slips, and hand them into the staff, who retrieve the item/s from our repositories and give them to the customer for consultation.

The room has various finding aids, paper catalogues and reference books to help customers identify sources of information. There are also surrogate copies of the 1840s tithe maps and their apportionments, as well as various Ordnance Survey maps in the cabinets around the room. There are also two computers to help you search our online catalogue.

Documents cannot be taken out of this room for any reason, unless expressly authorised by an Archivist.

Things to know:

  • occasionally you may be asked to wear gloves if you are handling photographic material. This is to protect the documents
  • there are weights of various shapes and sizes to hold documents in place, please use them!
  • large volumes should be consulted on a book cushion, to protect the spine of the book
  • large maps or plans should be consulted on the map table at the end of the room
  • staff are always happy to show you how to handle documents correctly
  • always be careful not to lean on any part of the documents, you can easily damage something irreparably
  • some documents are too fragile to produce to the public. An assessment will be carried out either by an Archivist or the Conservator if required.

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