How to use our service

Gateway to the Past allows you to carry out a search of our Archive, Library, Arts and Museum holdings. 'What is in our catalogue', 'Simple searches', 'Advanced searches' and 'Guides to Sources' in the help pages will help you with searching. When you have located something you would like to see or know more about you can visit or contact us.

Access to archives and books

Visiting and contacting us

The Archive Service includes Staffordshire Record Office and Stoke on Trent City Archives, and works closely with the William Salt Library. If your catalogue search brings up an item held at one of these locations you are welcome to visit to carry out your research. For information to help you to plan your visit, including opening hours, contact details, making an appointment, photographing documents and location for each site please visit our website or click on the web links above. Lichfield Record Office closed permanently on 31 December 2017, and the records formerly held there are now available at Staffordshire Record Office.

Readers' tickets

On your first visit please bring ID with address and signature, such as a driving licence, so we can issue a reader's ticket. See our website for further information.

Ordering documents in advance

Some records require advance ordering. The access conditions in the catalogue description will tell you if you need to order the document in advance. For example you might see 'Overnight advance notice required for production of photographs' or 'Minimum of two working days' advance notice is required for production'. You can order other documents in advance (usually up to 3 items) and this is advisable for Saturday visits, or for arrival at lunchtime on weekdays.

Ordering copies

We can supply copies of documents, depending on condition and format, on site or you can purchase a camera permit. If you are unable to visit we can also supply copies. Go to Copying Services or simply send us an email to request an estimate, quoting the document reference number.

Access to restricted material

Some records held by the Archive Service are not normally open for public access. If you see a document marked 'Access Restricted' in the catalogue there will either be an explanation or an invitation to contact the relelvant office for more information. If you would like to view a document marked 'Access Restricted' please contact us and we will tell you whether all or part of the information may be disclosed to you and, if not, the reason why.

Access to museum objects and artworks

If you would like to see or know more about an object or artwork held by the County Museum you will find contact details on our website. Please note that many of the photographs and some museum objects held by the Museum Service can be seen on the Staffordshire Past Track website.

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