Victoria County Histories Show image info

Victoria County Histories

Reference material

We have several research sources available on open access in the public searchrooms that may help you with your enquiries.


On shelves around the searchrooms are many of the most heavily-used Local Studies books. They are shelved in Dewey order within their geographical regions: Bath, Local (B&NES outside Bath), Somerset, Gloucestershire & Bristol, and Wiltshire. Family history books include specialist subject titles and a long series of pamphlets by the Federation of Family History Societies. These are all listed on the LibrariesWest catalogue. See our Books & Pamphlets page for more information on the rest of the book collections.

There are also two periodicals on open access: Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society and the Somerset Record Society publications. There are more titles available in our strongrooms, please see the Periodicals leaflet here.

Reference material

We have a number of standard reference books and other sources:

  • Directories: Bath street directories 1790s-1973 (earliest ones on request only), and Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol. Full listing and details here.
  • Council Minutes: printed books of minutes, indexed by committee at the front (1895-1996). Additional years are available on request.
  • Electoral Registers: a selection of Bath City Borough registers 1832-2013. Years outside this range (including the most recent ones) and Bathforum/Wansdyke/NE Somerset Parliamentary District on request.
  • Periodicals: Clerical Lists (aka Crockford’s) 1841-present, Army List 1642-2005 and Navy Lists 1834-2012. A selection is available on open access on request and holdings not continuous. See Periodicals leaflet for full details of holdings.
  • Biographical: Various listings of artists, architects, medics, peers, and surname dictionaries are available alongside the family history books. Burke’s Peerage books on request. The Dictionary of National Biography, Who’s Who and other resources can be accessed online through the Library’s Online Resources page with a membership card.
  • Victoria County Histories: Local counties are in the main searchroom, but there is a sequence of other counties on the shelves in the family history room. Listing on Periodicals leaflet.

Finding Aids

There are many parts of the collections that cannot be found through our online cataloges but must be accessed through printed or written catalogues and indexes. These include:

  • Printed catalogues covering the Archives’ accessions, BC, BGB and Methodist sequences. Additionally, staff have access to older written handlists of collections. 
  • Subject indexes for Archives (including people, places and PX photo series); Local Studies ephemera, autograph letters, manuscripts and scrapbooks; and Local Studies maps and plans. There are also indexes for the Trade Cards and Clippings collections.
  • The large card catalogue in our entrance is mainly concerned with the Library’s reference stock but includes many of Local Studies' ephemeral and pamphlet material not yet in the online catalogue. Most of the book stock is not held on site so please ask about access.