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Stoke on Trent City Archives Code of Conduct

We preserve the archival heritage of Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent and make it available for people to use.  Help us to carry out this role by complying with this Code of Conduct and our procedures.


  • All readers are required to complete a registration card on their first visit.  An official form of identification, giving both signature and address, must be produced to support registration. (Please see our list of acceptable proofs of identity and address).  By signing the registration card a reader agrees to accept this Code of Conduct. 
  • A readers’ ticket will be issued on completion of registration. This must be handed to staff at the reception desk on each visit to our record offices.
  • No original documents will be produced for consultation until the registration procedure has been completed and a full reader’s ticket has been issued.
  • All readers must sign the visitors’ book upon arrival on each visit to any of our record offices.

General conduct

  • We do not allow smoking inside the Archive Service buildings and in their immediate vicinity.
  • Bags, including handbags, folders and coats must be left in the lockers provided.
  • Food, including sweets, and drinks are not allowed in the reading rooms.
  • Young children should be accompanied by an adult, who is responsible for their supervision.
  • We regret that we cannot admit animals, except service dogs and service dogs in training, to the reading rooms.
  • You are requested to give consideration to other readers, by keeping conversation to an absolute minimum. If you wish to have a lengthy conversation, please leave the reading rooms. 
  • We do not allow the use of tape recorders or mobile phones in the reading rooms. 
  • We consider inappropriate behaviour in the Record Office to include: behaving in a disorderly manner; using violent, abusive or obscene language; intentionally or recklessly doing anything likely to cause injury to any other person or property; intentionally disturbing, interrupting or annoying any other person properly using the reading rooms; and viewing inappropriate material on the internet or on personal lap top computers.

Availability of documents

  • Members of the public have a statutory right of access to certain classes of documents. Some records may not be generally available because of legislation or the terms of their deposit. Documents in the process of being catalogued or conserved are not normally made available.
  • Readers requiring access to records which may contain personal data will be required to sign a declaration that they will comply with the Data Protection Act, 1998.

Care of documents

  • Readers are responsible for the safety of documents issued to them until they are returned and checked back by a member of staff. Documents should not be left unattended. If you leave the reading room, please hand your documents in to the staff.
  • Documents must be handled carefully at all times. 
  • Pencils only may be used in the reading rooms. Documents must not be marked, annotated or defaced in any way.
  • Readers must not lean on documents, or rest papers or notepads on them while making notes, nor run fingers down pages or follow text with their finger or a pencil. 
  • Volumes should be placed on a foam support or cushion and should not be kept open for longer than necessary. 
  • Maps should be protected by a sheet of archival polyester or perspex, which we will provide.  Rolled maps should only be held open by archival weights. Once protected, maps may be traced, using a 2B pencil, with the permission of the staff on duty. 
  • Gloves should be worn when handling parchment documents, glass negatives or photographs. Readers may also be asked to wear gloves when using other archival material by the staff on duty. The staff will supply gloves for your use. 
  • Bundles and file and guarded material will be issued one at a time and are weighed on issue and return. Items in bundles must be kept in the order in which they were issued. 
  • Where documents have been microfilmed, the microform copy must be used in place of the original. 
  • Documents may be withheld from public use on preservation grounds. 
  • Readers are requested to inform the staff of any documents which appear to be misplaced or which they find in a fragile or damaged condition. 
  • The copying of documents is subject to the terms of the Archive Service’s Preservation Policy.


Permission to reproduce, exhibit or publish copies or transcripts of documents, whether in hard copy or electronic form, should be requested in writing.  The use of documents must be acknowledged in any published hard copy or electronic work.


The Head of Archive Services and City Archivist each have discretion to exclude from the Record Office any member of the public who contravenes this code of conduct or who behaves inappropriately.

Admission to the reading room

  • It is strongly advised that you make an appointment to use the City Archives, especially if you are researching genealogy, as most of out resources for this subject require you to use a microfilm or microfiche reader and these are frequently fully booked.
  • When making a booking you should check whether we hold the material you require; whether the documents you wish to see are on microfilm or microfiche.
  • Casual visitors cannot be accommodated if all seats and microform readers are booked. 
  • As space is limited, we are unable to accommodate visitors not undertaking research.
  • We can accommodate working group visits of up to six people, by prior arrangement. We can also arrange brief familiarisation visits for students.

Issue and return of documents

  • Documents are produced between 10.00pm and 1.45pm on Thursdays, and Fridays, 10.00am and 6.45pm on Wednesdays and 10.00am and 1.45pm on Saturdays.
  • A maximum of three document request slips may be submitted at one time. 
  • We aim to produce documents within 20 minutes but delays may occur at busy times or if documents need to be repackaged for production in the reading room. The production of documents held in out store requires 48 hours notice.
  • Readers should wait to have their documents checked back when finished with or when leaving the reading room and collect their reader’s ticket when they leave the building. 
  • If a document is required again on the following day, please tell the staff who can set it aside for you.

Microfilm / microfiche viewers and computers

  • Microfilm and microfiche viewers must be booked in advance.  At some viewers it is possible for two people to be seated without inconveniencing other readers; please tell us if you wish to have one of these viewers booked for you. 
  • Microfilm and microfiche are available on a self-service basis and care should be taken to ensure that they are returned to their correct place. Fiche markers are provided for you to place in the space from which you take the fiche. Please use these at all times.
  • Care should be taken to avoid scratching microfilm and microfiche. 
  • All microfilms should be rewound onto the left reel.


  • Photocopies may be supplied at the discretion of the duty archivist, where this does not contravene the Archive Service preservation policy or any copyright restrictions.  Further details on restrictions are provided in the information leaflets In 'Safe Keeping and Copyright'.
  • Microfiche and microfilm copies can be made on the self-service reader printers if they are free or if you have booked time on them. Otherwise you may place an order for the staff to take the copies later.
  • Photocopies and microform printouts should be ordered on the forms provided.  Orders cannot be accepted by telephone. 
  • Photocopies will usually be done on request except in the case of very large amounts, which may have to be deferred. 
  • No document shall be removed from a bundle for copying without consulting a member of staff.
  • Photographs of documents can be taken provided that there are no copyright restrictions. Further details are provided in the information leaflet on Photographic Services.


This Code of Conduct was approved by the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Joint Archives Committee, 18 July 2001


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