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Planning a visit

Planning your visit during the period of Coronavirus restrictions

Following a phased reopening, Staffordshire Record Office has now reverted to normal opening hours.  You may now also view the William Salt Library’s archive and book collections here. Visits are strictly by appointment only, the number of available places is very limited and documents must be ordered in advance.

Please read the whole of this web page so that you understand what we can safely offer you and what we ask of you in return.

Please also read the web page linked below so that you understand the social distancing and hygiene measures that you will be required to follow during your visit, including wearing a face covering during your visit:

Please bear in mind that our opening timetable and the various measures we are putting in place will be kept under review and may change.

Identifying documents for your visit

Documents must be ordered in advance of your visit. To work out what records you need and where they are held you should check the online catalogues, guides to sources and family history resources.

Please note that documents held at our out-store and documents and books at the William Salt Library require a full week's advance notice for production, and photographs in our photographic strongroom require a minimum of two full working days' notice.

We currently have flexible limits of ten Record Office documents plus ten William Salt Library items pre visit. Flexibility is mainly dependent upon the way in which items are stored in the strongrooms. Please email us to let us know when you would like to visit and provide a prioritised list of documents that you wish to see, so that we can advise you further.

Reader registration

Please note: County Archive Research Network (CARN) tickets and ARA Archives cards are not currently valid at our service points, although they may be used as proof of identity and address.

On your first visit you must complete a registration card, so that a reader's ticket can be issued. You also need to produce proof of identity and permanent address. There is no need to obtain a reader's ticket in advance of your visit.

As part of registration readers must accept a code of conduct:

Original documents cannot be consulted until registration has been completed.

Where can I use the reader's ticket?

Readers tickets are valid at all of our service points, and the William Salt Library, Stafford, for two years. They may be renewed at any of our service points on production of proof of identity and address.

Making an appointment

At the present time visits are strictly by appointment only, as access to the building is staff controlled and we have just four seats available. Casual visitors will not be able to enter the building.

When booking please let us know the following details:

  • what you wish to look at - please note that family history sources on microfiche, microfilm or CD are not currently available. Documents may require up to a week's advance notice. See above for further details
  • how many people are coming - although the very limited number of spaces will be allocated on a “first come, first served basis”, we reserve the right to refuse block bookings on the grounds of fairness to other users. This will be reviewed regularly in the light of demand
  • visitors with disabilities - if you will be accompanied by a personal assistant, please make this known to staff at the time of booking, so that we can allocate the most suitable space for you and your assistant

To request documents in advance and book an appointment please contact us.

Opening hours

Staffordshire Record Office is now operating normal opening hours. Please follow the link below for full details.

What should I bring with me?

  • Reader’s Ticket or identification - you will need to show this to a member of staff but we won’t ask you to hand it over.
  • Pencils - when using the searchroom you must use pencils, not pens. This helps preserve the documents. We are not selling pencils at present.
  • Digital camera - you may take digital photographs of some of our records, but we do charge for a permit (£8 for a day permit). Please let us know when making your booking and we will advise you how to pay online.
  • Laptop / tablet / phone - we offer WiFi for users of the Record Office. Staff will help you get connected. There is currently no access to the PCs at the Record Office.
  • Warm clothes - we will be keeping the windows open for ventilation.
  • Face covering (unless you have a medical exemption).

NHS Track and Trace and NHS Test and Trace

  • In line with other public service and hospitality venues we are obliged to maintain a register of visitors spending more than 30 minutes on-site.
  • The register contains the following data: name, telephone number, date, arrival and departure times.
  • This information will be passed to a legally authorised body, if requested for purposes of tracking and tracing or testing and tracing.
  • Data will be deleted from the register after 21 days.
  • For further information about the Track and Trace and Test and Trace systems please visit the NHS website.

Further information about finding records

The Archive Service has four service points, and works closely with William Salt Library. The links below give an overview of what is held at each office. Staffordshire Record Office reopened on 14 July 2020, but our other service points will remain closed until further notice. Archives and books held by the William Salt Library will be made available through the Staffordshire Record Office searchroom.

Family history sources

Local and general history sources

Transport options

Travelling to Staffordshire or Stoke on Trent to do your research? Please follow current government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene guidance when using public transport.  Please check timetables before travelling, as they can change at short notice.

You may find Traveline helpful in checking out the various options available. 

Finding accommodation

Please visit the following websites to find out what local accommodation options are available.

For overseas visitors the following websites will give tourist information about Staffordshire as a whole, the West Midlands region and Britain nationally.

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