Visiting Southwark Archives
Using the searchroom
To help ensure safer distance in the searchroom, our open-access material (books, maps, images, pamphlets, press cuttings) is currently staff-access only. Ask the staff member on duty for the items you want, and leave them on the desk when you are finished. Thank you very much for your patience with this change.
We’re here to help
After you've signed in, staff will show you your seat and bring you any documents you requested. If this is your first visit, or you need some extra help, staff will give you an introduction to our service and collections. Ask the staff member on duty for help opening, moving, reading, or understanding a document. Staff are happy to assist if you're unsure what to consult next, or need help with continuing your research.
We have a number of catalogues, indexes, and finding aids to our documents in the searchroom. Ask us if you need help finding your way around the collections. If you need help finding, moving, or working with an item, please ask the staff member on duty. We are happy to explain how to use equipment, help read documents, or suggest where to search next.
If you find document(s) that you’d like to view while you are in the searchroom, please fill in a document request slip for each document and hand them in to the staff member on duty. If the document(s) you want are stored on-site, we will do our best to fetch them the same day. Document(s) stored off-site take time to retrieve: you may need to make a new appointment to view them. If your order is large, we may only bring part of it at first. Let the staff member know when you’re finished with your current documents.
Remember to keep track of the items you've looked at as you research. A good way to do this is to write down reference numbers in your notes, or save your copy of document slips. Staff are happy to help you find reference numbers, and there are scrap paper and pencils available. We need this information to process any usage requests you make later – and it is much harder to find after you've left!
You're responsible for the documents that you order and view. Please let the member of staff on duty know when you are finished with them, or when you are leaving the searchroom. If you want to continue using archival material on another day, please let us know and we will hold it for you for up to two weeks.
Using a laptop or PC
You're welcome to use your laptop or tablet in the searchroom at your own risk. The building has public wifi, and staff can explain how to access it. There are power points underneath the searchroom desk. Ask staff for help using them. Staff do not have the expertise to provide IT support for your personal device.
Our computers are for accessing surrogate (digitally coped) collection material and online family/local history resources only. If you need to check email or use other facilities, please book a computer in John Harvard Library or use your personal device. Accessing surrogate collection material takes priority over online resources. Staff can provide very limited IT support. Tell the staff member on duty if a piece of equipment is not working.
Sharing the space
Please be considerate to the researchers and staff working alongside you. Set mobile phones and personal audio equipment to silent or off during your visit. If you want to have a conversation, please move to the café area at the front of the lending library. Please use the headphones provided to view audio-visual collection items and keep the volume low. If you need to speak to a specific member of Southwark Archives staff, let the staff member on duty know.
If you need copies of documents, please ask staff for advice. You may be able to photograph or photocopy documents. Southwark Archives charges a fee for personal photography licences and photocopies. Please be aware that we allow researchers to photograph or copy our documents for personal non-commercial research only. If you have questions or need advice, please talk to the staff member on duty.
Page last updated: 01 December 2023