Visiting Cumbria Archive Centres

Before you visit, please note the following:

  • you will need to obtain or already have a valid County Archive Research Network (CARN) archive reader's ticket to see original archives

  • you will need to sign our searchroom register for fire safety purposes and to show your agreement with our searchroom rules

  • ensure the documents you require do not need to be ordered in advance: check our advance order webpage for guidance

  • at Kendal Archive Centre there are separate access arrangements - you will need to book an appointment at least 24 hours in advance

  • please let us know if your research is for legal purposes: you may need formal permission from the document owners to look at some privately-owned archives in our custody

  • read our conservation guidance on handling documents and our guidance below

  • your last request for archive productions must be made before 4.30pm (excluding Kendal Archive Centre)

  • check our website nearer your visit for any lunchtime restrictions or closures

  • check our guides to catalogues and online catalogue to find the correct document references for records you wish to see

  • you may bring in laptops and tablets with chargers

  • you may use your own camera, tablet or smartphone for photographs providing that flash and sound are disabled, you complete a copyright form and pay our photography licence fee, further details on our digital camera web page

  • free public wi-fi is available in all four Archive Centres

  • free public access computers are available in all four Archive Centres (staff will provide you with log on details), with free access to Ancestry and Findmypast; you may use your own memory stick with these PCs

  • a range of family history, local history and relevant reference books are available in our archive centres to support your research

  • if you would like to deposit/donate records, please consult our Depositing Records web page before making your visit

Document handling

  • Please do not place anything on top of an unprotected document. This includes your notebook or other belongings (pencils, spectacles etc.)

  • Please ask before making tracings; a member of staff will provide a sheet of melinex to protect the document

  • Do not bend, fold or crease a document; please handle documents as little as possible and ask staff for an acid-free paper marker to follow text

  • Please use the book supports provided to help preserve the bindings of volumes

  • Help us by reporting damaged documents to Archives staff. Our conservators can take steps to prevent further deterioration, or repair the document if resources allow

  • Please do not take documents out of the searchroom/archives room, for security reasons

  • Please do not change the order of documents in archive files or rolls produced for you

  • Always ask a member of staff if a document may be copied: ALL photocopying and scanning will be done by Archive Centre staff (note: copying and scanning are not available at Kendal Archive Centre)

  • Copying can only be done after an order/copyright declaration form has been filled in by you.

  • The following documents will usually not be photocopied. Please ask staff if an alternative copy or method of reproduction is available (we also offer an expert digitisation service which WILL be able to help): original parish registers; rolled documents; parchment documents; photographs; large, heavy volumes; ANY torn or fragile document; documents with spines which would be weakened by copying

  • Sometimes we are unable to produce fragile documents for you. We shall try to make a surrogate available if this is possible. Some document formats (such as glass plate negatives) will not be produced

Security measures for all users of our searchrooms

On arrival in the Archive Centre ALL bags, briefcases, folders, files, document wallets etc. should be placed in the lockers provided.  Coats and outdoor jackets also need to be left on the coat hooks provided. Loose papers, notebooks and pencils may be taken into the searchroom.

These security measures will help us to prevent losses from our collections and safeguard irreplaceable material for the use of future generations of historians and researchers.   We appreciate your understanding and co-operation. Further guidance can be found in our full searchroom rules (PDF 109KB).

Quide to what you can bring into the searchroom:
YesNo - please leave in lockers
Loose papersFolders, files, ring binders and carrier bags of all types
Notepad (A4 or smaller)Document wallets and pouches - opaque or transparent
Laptop computer/tablet
(turned to silent)
Cases for laptops and cameras
Camera (no flash)

Coats and outdoor jackets (a coat stand is provided)

PencilHand-bags, body pouches and bum-bags
Glasses (with case)Pens, markers, correcting fluid, scissors, knives
KeysDocument scanning devices
Mobile phone (if turned off/silent)Food and drink including sweets, cough sweets and chewing gum