National archives of the United Kingdom - Public Records Office

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Address and Contact Info

Address: The National Archives Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU

Telephone & fax: Tel: +44 (0) 20 8876 3444

Our lines are open as follows:

Monday 09:00 - 17:00, Tuesday 09:00 - 19:00, Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00, Thursday 09:00 - 19:00, Friday 09:00 - 17:00, Saturday 09:30 - 17:00, Sunday Closed.

Website: [1]

Principal contacts for the collection:

Hours and Usage Restrictions

Opening Times and Closure Dates

Photography is permitted without flash.

Online Catalogs and Finding Aids

The Catalogue

The National Archives Catalogue contains 11 million searchable descriptions of records from central government, courts of law and other UK national bodies. The records (and their descriptions) are arranged under the different government departments that originated them. You can read more about the structure of the Catalogue and read our guide to the most popular codes for government departments.

Bear in mind that the Catalogue does not contain images of the documents, only references. When you've found a relevant reference, you can visit us to view the records free of charge or request copies to be sent to you for a small fee. When a record has been digitised its catalogue entry links to the image or relevant online resource. For example, images for some Catalogue records are available from DocumentsOnline, several census websites or an online exhibition.

The National Archives General Site Search

The National Archives' general website Search allows you to search the Catalogue at the same time as the Access to Archives (A2A) database, DocumentsOnline and other online resources. The general site search is a one-stop search across the holdings of The National Archives of the United Kingdom and of local and private archives (mostly in England) delivering fast results sorted by subject. Your results list will tell you which database each hit came from. There will also be a link to the Catalogue entry, so you can follow up on your findings. You can use the Advanced Site Search to select specific databases.

Other Catalogues and Online Records

These include records held by The National Archives, our records digitised on our partners' websites, and records held in other archives. Searching is free, but there may be a charge to download documents.

The National Archives possesses many other databases that do not appear on their website and can only be viewed from terminals on the premises.

Collection Summary

The National Archives (TNA) comprises four formerly separate entities: the Public Record Office (PRO), the Historical Manuscripts Commission (HMC, formerly the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts), the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) and Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO).

Some holdings include:

CO (Records of the Colonial Office, Commonwealth and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices, Empire Marketing Board, and related bodies, Colonial Office for short).

[TNA owns the Colonial State Papers database, which includes text searchable calendars and digitized manuscript images for CO 1 (Privy Council and related bodies: America and West Indies, Colonial Papers (General Series), 1575-1757) and the accompanying text searchable calendar, Calendar of State Papers, Colonial: North America and the West Indies 1574-1739.]

SP (Records assembled by the State Paper Office, including papers of the Secretaries of State up to 1782, State Papers for short).

[TNA owns the State Papers Online database, which includes text searchable calendars and digitized manuscript images for State Papers Foreign and Domestic from 1509-1714, almost 3 million pages.]

Usage Discussion

Suggestions for approaching the material:

Housing and getting by for less in the area:

List of Accommodation in Private Homes for Visitors to The National Archives, Kew (formerly the PRO).

Fellowships and Funding Opportunities

Major Topic Areas

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