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About the Northamptonshire Archives Service

Explore 800 years of Northamptonshire’s history, people and places, all under one roof.

We are home to a breathtaking collection of unique and irreplaceable written documents, drawings, maps and photographs. Our mission is to preserve and make them available to you.

Before visiting, please contact us to make an appointment so we can help you decide which documents you want to see and pursue your research effectively.

Reasons to visit

There are a variety of reasons you might visit the Archive, such as:

  • family history
  • local history research
  • academic studies
  • to follow up an interest in an historic topic

Some of our records are very old, with handwriting and illustrations that are works of art. Other records are quite modern, including official records and local photographs, charting the recent development of our county. All are irreplaceable and need careful handling by all who use them.

Online catalogue

We are working hard to get the descriptions of the various archives which we hold onto the online catalogue, which you can browse at any time. This is not a comprehensive listing of all our holdings and does not provide links to digital images of documents.

The age or format of collections means that some catalogues will only ever be available in paper copy and viewable in person.

If you are unable to find what you are looking for in our online catalogue please ask us and we will see if we have any relevant indexes or catalogues in paper copy.

History of the Archive

The service originated in the 1920s, thanks to the tireless efforts of Joan Wake, and the documents were originally stored in the former gaol rooms at County Hall in Northampton.

At the outbreak of the second world war, the documents were moved for safekeeping and divided between Brixworth Hall and Joan Wake’s own home at Green Farm in Cosgrove. Additional storage was provided by the church at Furtho.

At the end of the war, a decision was made that the documents should be brought back together and a home was found at Lamport Hall where they stayed until 1959. Then a decision was made to move them into the recently repaired Delapre Abbey.

Delapre Abbey became increasingly expensive to maintain and was not altogether suitable in terms of preserving the documents or keeping them secure. This led to the construction of a purpose-built facility at the Wootton Hall Park site. Since 1991 the archives have been held at Wootton Hall Park, Mereway, Northampton, NN4 8BQ.

Most signage dates to this time and refers to the old name of Northamptonshire Record Office but the building for the Northamptonshire Archives Service is the same one.

Last updated 16 October 2023