Visiting Southwark Archives

Data protection

Southwark Archives collects data from you to manage its collections, process enquiries, and measure its performance. We do not collect or use personally identifying information for performance measurement. In most cases, the law says that we need to collect your data. We do not need your permission, and we cannot provide a service to you without it. Our user forms explain how and why we collect your data. If you are concerned about how Southwark Council is using your data, please contact the Data Protection Officer via or on 020 7525 5000. More information about your rights is available on the Southwark Council website, or via the Information Commissioner’s Office.

You also collect information when you use our collections. Documents in our collection, especially archival records, may contain personal data. Personal data identifies a living individual, either by itself or by referring to other information. Opinions about living people are personal data. You are responsible for making sure that your use of personal data from our collections meets the historical research exemption in the Data Protection Act 2018. The Information Commissioner’s Office has more information.

The Data Protection Act 2018 forbids us from providing access to documents that may contain sensitive personal information while the individuals that data relates to are still alive. In practice, this means that some types of records are closed to researchers for 100 years. If you have questions, please talk to the staff member on duty or visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website.

Personal data restrictions only apply to living individuals. Even if the Data Protection Act 2018 does not apply, you are responsible for making sure your research is legal and ethical, especially around publication. This includes:

  • ensuring you have all copyright permissions before publishing
  • following any restrictions or confidentiality agreements
  • considering whether your research might upset or distress living relatives

Page last updated: 03 January 2024


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