We have made a number of changes to how we provide access to our collections at the Record Office in order to keep everyone safe.

Despite this we have made every effort to enable access to our range of resources.


Safety measures

What are you doing to ensure the safety of researchers and staff?

  • We have installed new signs, a perspex screen at the welcome desk and sanitiser stations. We ask you to practise good hand hygiene, maintain a 2 metre distance from other people and take time to read our guidance and customer charter. We will be cleaning facilities between each session.

How many people will there be at each booked session?

  • We are limiting the number of people in the searchrooms at any one time. Initially this will be 4 people.

Will I need to wear a face covering?

  • For your safety and the safety of other visitors and staff, you are required to wear a face covering when visiting the Guildhall.

Will everyone need to wear gloves?

  • No, you will only need to wear gloves if handling very delicate or photographic materials. We are providing sanitiser stations and cleaning facilities and we are quarantining documents. We are following best practice guidance on limiting risks from the virus while also caring for the documents.

Will staff be enforcing social distancing and safety measures?

  • We ask all visitors to follow our Covid-19 Visitor Charter which explains the safety measures that are in place. We will allocate seating to provide social distancing. Any concerns should be notified to a member of staff.

How will you comply with NHS: Test and Trace?

  • We will hold your booking details relating to each visit in order to comply with NHS Test and Trace guidelines.

Booking and facilities

Can I visit without an appointment?

  • Not at present. An appointment is essential. The numbers in the searchrooms will be strictly limited and you will only be able to attend with an appointment.

Can I extend my booking to more than one session?

  • The limit has been put in place to allow as many people as possible to access the archives and local studies resources. If you would like to discuss your visit further, please contact us.

Can I bring a friend or member of my household with me?

  • As space is limited we can only allow one person per booking for every research appointment.

How do I find the document references to order my documents?

  • Archives collection

Around half of the Bath Record Office archives collection is available to search on the Somerset Archive catalogue.

  • Local Studies collection

The majority of the printed books and pamphlets in the Local Studies collection are listed on the LibrariesWest catalogue: items located at the Guildhall are listed as B&NES Local Studies. Items held at the BNES Reserve Store are not available onsite but can be retrieved by special request. Bath in Time acts as the finding aid for the majority of the image collection and some maps and plans.

How many documents can I order per session?

  • You will able to request up to 12 items (volumes, files, books etc.) per research appointment.

I forgot to order my documents; can I order on arrival?

  • This may be possible subject to staff availability and the quantity and size of documents requested. There may be a waiting time for retrieval.

This will be my first visit. Will I need to complete a registration form on arrival?

  • We shall require your details before you arrive so that we can issue you with a membership card. On arrival you will need to bring relevant ID so that we can issue your card. You must bring your card every time you visit the Record Office.

What ID will I need to bring on my first visit?

  • We require photo ID and evidence of your signature. These can be on two different pieces of ID if necessary. Acceptable forms of ID include a driver's licence, utility bill, debit/credit card or bank statement or passport.

Will lockers be available?

  • Lockers will be available and will be allocated on arrival. All lockers and keys will be thoroughly cleaned between each use.

Will toilet facilities be available?

  • Toilet facilities will be available, please see our accessibility page for more information.

Will I be able to get copies of documents?

  • We advise that you bring a camera if you would like to take copies. We can take orders for photocopies (where the document is suitable for this) but we will not be able to provide copies during your visit. Any copies ordered will be sent on either to your email address, or by post with the addition of a postage fee. You may print out copies from the microfilm machines or computers.

Will all resources be available?

  • We aim to provide access to all resources required, including original documents, maps, books, microfilm and microfiche. The need to quarantine items for 72 hours after use means there is a slight possibility that an item may not be available during your visit. We expect this issue to be minimised by the requirement to pre-order your documents.

I only want to browse the Local Studies books. Do I still need to book an appointment?

  • Yes, an appointment will be needed for any access to the searchroom as we are applying a strict quota to visitor numbers to enable social distancing.

I only want to view the current Electoral Register. Do I still need to book an appointment?

  • Yes, as above.

Can I get help from staff with my research?

  • We aim to be as helpful as possible. However, due to social distancing it will not be possible for us to stand or sit near you to give specific help or guidance.

Will I be able to access the computers on site and will they be clean?

  • There will be access to one computer per session. This will be thoroughly cleaned between booked sessions.

Will you accept cash for copying charges?

  • We would prefer you to pay by card on the B&NES website. However, cash payments will be accepted.

Can I deposit documents with you at the moment?