Visit Northamptonshire Archives Service
Before you visit
Where possible documents to be consulted should be ordered in advance. A limited on-the-day document retrieval service is also offered.
If you know which items you wish to consult, you should order these documents by the Thursday of the week before your booking. You will be limited to a pre-ordered maximum of 6 documents at any one time. This is for the safety of the documents and to manage the workload for staff.
Retrieving documents on the day
On the day, we offer 5 document retrieval services with a limit of 2 requests per person per time at:
If you wish to take photographs for private study purposes, a photo permit can be bought (at £7 for a part day or £12 for a full day).
The service can also offer at a reasonable cost, high-quality digital copies of most of the archives that are held. There will always be some exceptions depending on the condition and size of the record.
Open for research
|Day||Morning opening hours||Afternoon opening hours|
|Tuesday||9am to 1pm||2pm to 5pm|
|Wednesday||9am to 1pm||2pm to 5pm|
|Thursday||9am to 1pm||2pm to 5pm|
|Saturday||9am to 1pm (first Saturday of the month only)||Closed|
Book a visit
To book a visit, please email [email protected].
We are unable to take bookings by phone. You can book sessions for a morning or afternoon or both, depending on availability.
Northamptonshire Archives Service
Wootton Hall Park
- 2 parking spaces dedicated to blue badge holders
- all public areas are wheelchair accessible
- an accessible toilet
- a hearing loop system
- printer readers that can enlarge text and images for the visually impaired
- height adjustable chairs with and without arms available
There is free parking on site. However, we cannot guarantee spaces will be available during busy periods.
We advise everyone visiting the Archives Service to bring their own food and drinks. These can only be consumed in our Visitors’ Lounge.
We have charity boxes that sell sweets and flapjacks for £1 each but we have no other facilities available for food or drink. There is no drinks machine. However, within a 10-minute drive of the Archives, there are various places where food and drinks can be bought.
Guidance for new visitors to the Northamptonshire Archives
The Northamptonshire Archives Service is responsible for looking after unique and irreplaceable records about the history of communities that are now part of the areas of West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire, formerly the ancient county of Northamptonshire, including the Soke of Peterborough.
Please note that we hold very few records relating to places outside the County borders. The records provide amazing insights into life in the past but identifying what you want to look at for your topic of interest is rather different from, say, using a Library. This guidance is therefore designed to provide you with a basic outline of what you can expect.
Steps for new visitors
- Before you visit you should familiarise yourself with the processes, what proof of identity is acceptable, and the rules and regulations in place to protect the documents from harm. It will also be useful if you check our online catalogue for any records, you would like to view. Up to 6 items can be ordered in advance by emailing [email protected].
- We are open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, and the first Saturday of each month.
- Please ensure that you bring some lunch or other refreshments as there are no cafes in the immediate vicinity. For those arriving by car, there is parking in front of the building. The pedestrian entrance is through red metal gates.
- On entering through our main doors, on the left will be the Visitors’ Lounge area and on the right the reception room. Turn right and head to the Reception desk. The friendly member of staff will welcome you and ask you to provide identification.
They will give you a brief reminder of the rules and regulations, for example, you must only write in pencil, and not take bags or large coats into the research rooms. There are lockers for you to use. Once you have confirmed that you are happy to abide by the rules, we can issue you with a researcher’s card that will allow you to access archive material.
- Next you will go through into the Index Room which has paper indexes and catalogues of the archive material held (including both copies of catalogues that are online and those that are not) Northamptonshire Archives and Heritage Catalogue.
A member of staff will be able to spend 10 minutes or so explaining how to use these so that you can find what you want from the collection.
- Once you have identified records that you would like to look at (if you haven’t already ordered them before your visit), you will head through the final set of doors into the Research Room. On your right-hand side, a staff member is there to help and explain the document retrieval process.
In simple terms, you submit a form / slip giving your name, the document reference and a brief description. Staff will locate and retrieve the item(s) and bring it/them to you. We process slips for a limited number of items per person at 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am and 2:15pm and 2:45pm.
- When we produce documents for you it might be that we also provide things to help you look at documents safely without causing them damage. Cushions can be provided to support volumes to help protect their spines.
We may also supply weights if you are looking at documents such as maps so that they can be consulted easily and securely without being placed under stress. The Archive holds unique and irreplaceable documents, and we expect that you will do your utmost to keep safe anything you look at so that future generations can also enjoy them.
- The Research Room is open for research and consultation of documents during the advertised opening hours only. All researchers must be registered with the Archives Service before they can consult the documents. This requires proof of ID and address.
- All coats and bags (including handbags and computer bags) must be placed into one of the lockers provided. The Archives Service can accept no responsibility for the safe custody of such belongings.
- Only pencils or computers may be used for taking notes. Pens, adhesives, erasers or computer scanning devices must not be used.
- No food or drink including sweets, gum or water should be used in any part of the Research Room.
- Researchers must ensure that their hands are clean and lotion-free before consulting documents. Please do not be offended if Archives Service staff ask you to wear gloves, as they will have made a decision on several factors to decide if gloves are the best way to protect the documents and allow access.
- Documents are to be handled with care. The documents must not be marked, defaced, folded or creased by the researcher. The researcher must not lean on, or place anything other than provided weights onto documents. Notes should be made away from the document and researchers must not mark the documents in any way.
- Researchers must protect the documents by using any book supports, weights or gloves provided by Archives staff. They should avoid putting undue strain on the spine of open books and volumes and should not try to force documents to open or lie flat.
- Researchers must not rearrange the order of any supplied loose documents or remove any tags, staples or other bindings other than with the permission of Archives Service staff. All documents must be returned with the pages in the order in which they were received.
- In the interest of others noise must be kept to a minimum, and mobile phones should be switched off or placed in silent mode. Calls should not be made or taken in the Research Room.
- Any researcher not complying with these rules or who behaves inappropriately can be deprived of the privilege of access, either temporarily or permanently, to the documents.
- Registering to research using the Archives Collections at the Northamptonshire Archives Service denotes acceptance of the foregoing regulations 1 to 11.
Last updated 02 May 2023