Cumbria Archive Service - latest news

Re-opening of Cumbria Archive Centres

We are pleased to announce that Carlisle and Whitehaven Archive Centres will re-open to the public on Wednesday 21 October 2020 and Kendal Archive Centre on Wednesday 4 November 2020. Our new temporary opening times are Wednesday to Friday from 9.30am to 1pm. 

Due to the Covid-19 situation it will be necessary for you to book an appointment to visit the Archive Centres. We also ask that you pre-order your document requests. 

Barrow Archive Centre will remain closed due to building works at Barrow Library and will reopen later in 2020.

If you are unable to visit and have shorter enquiries or copy requests, we are responding with an enhanced remote enquiry service. You can also commission paid research to undertake work on your behalf.

Barrow Archives refurbishment

Cumbria County Council is investing in Barrow Library and Archive Centre by bringing the old museum back into use as a multipurpose room for community use, improving the toilets, creating a range of meeting spaces and a new Local Studies Library.  This work started at the beginning of December 2019 and was to last until September 2020 but delays caused by COVID 19 issues mean the end date is now extended. 

Once the building has reopened parts of the library will be cordoned off at different times to allow the work to take place. This is to ensure the safety of library and archive visitors. Find out more about the Barrow Library improvement scheme.

Coronavirus in Cumbria: documenting the pandemic in our county

Soap advert, influenza pandemic 1918

The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted on all aspects of life and is likely to have far reaching consequences for individuals, communities and the economy.

All our archive centres and libraries are closed to the public for the first time ever but Cumbria Archive Service continues its work.  We are seeking your help to assist us in recording the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Cumbria for future generations.

You can help us create a community archive of Cumbrian pandemic related records, which will be catalogued, preserved and made available for research by doing the following:

  • Write about your experience of the pandemic: this may be about single memory or event; in the form a diary over several days or weeks, or a creative piece (story or poem)
  • Take a photograph which shows how the pandemic has affected you or your community in Cumbria*
  • Produce an audio or video recording about your experiences
  • Collect leaflets/flyers/posters or similar digital content from local government, schools, local businesses, local voluntary or community organisations which provide information about closures, changes in operation, social distancing and efforts to help vulnerable people

*Please note that when taking photographs that you have the consent of any person in the image or that they cannot be identified.

We ask that material for deposit with Cumbria Archive Service should be written, printed, or digital.  All material should wholly or mostly relate to Cumbria for us to accept it.

You can deposit your material with us as follows:

Email digital files and content to (our Barrow office will collect all this material for all the county during the lockdown period).

Post written and printed material to one of our Archive Centres, or hand these over to us when our Archive Centres have re-opened.

It is important that you do not risk your own or anyone else's health whilst gathering this material. Please follow Covid-19 advice issued by HM Government and Cumbria County Council.

For further information please contact Susan Benson at Barrow Archive Centre. Email: