Visiting Southwark Archives

Why we use appointments

Southwark Archives has a limited amount of space and equipment, and many of our archives are stored off-site. For this reason, we require visitors who want to use our original records to book an appointment with us 48 hours in advance. We strongly recommend that you book an appointment for every visit. Booking in advance makes sure that the space, documents, and equipment you need are available for you. If you're unsure if you require an appointment, contact us for help.

We have to follow government guidance and restrictions around COVID-19, so access to our searchroom may change at short notice. Please get in touch or check our visitor information before travelling into London to visit us.

To make an appointment

Please email us, telling us what you want to use and when you want to visit. It's helpful to mention that you're making an appointment in your subject line. Please also tell us if:

  • you have a deadline
  • you have specific access requirements
  • you will need help with using records or equipment
  • this is your first time using Southwark Archives, or archives in general

We can then make sure that staff are available to give you an introduction and more help if needed. 

If you're unable to use email, phone us on 020 7525 0232 to book.

Resources that can only be used by appointment

  • all original archive material including electoral registers
  • the microfilm, microfiche, our audio-visual collection
  • PCs to consult online family/local history resources

We can retrieve a maximum of 10 volumes or items for you in advance of your visit.

We have a limited number of PCs, and our microform reader and CD/DVD player each connect to a PC. Bookings for using PCs to access surrogate collection material take priority over those to use online resources. We book PCs for 2-hour slots; if there are no other bookings, you may be able to continue after your appointment slot is over.

We will let you know if there are any issues with your request – for instance if the material or equipment you want is already booked, or if the records you want are too fragile to use, only available as copies, or stored off-site.

Staff will book your appointment and arrange for your records to be brought to the searchroom if necessary. We will confirm the date and time of your appointment via phone or email. Please wait until we’ve confirmed your appointment before making travel arrangements. We cannot retrieve material from document stores on demand.

If you do not have an appointment, we cannot guarantee that the records, equipment, or space you want to use will be available. If you want to use archival records stored on site and we have space available, we may be able to book you in for an appointment later the same day. If you want to use material that does not require an appointment, we are happy to help if we have space available. We apologise for the inconvenience if we do not have the space, equipment, or records you want available on a non-booked visit.

Page last updated: 03 January 2024


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