History Centre visitor information

Key changes to our service.

Changes inside the centre

  • You can expect to see distancing measures and a one-way system
  • Hand sanitisation stations are available 
  • Both hard-copy catalogues (volumes and index cards) and online catalogues are available 
  • Access to designated public computers only
  • Both self-service printing from computer and self-service photocopying are available
  • Self-service copying using your camera or smartphone is possible - a permit fee is payable. Our copying stand is available for use but the lights ae currently not working.
  • Payment by card is recommended, preferably contactless.
  • Washable covers are available for public computer keyboards
  • Oxfordshire Family History Society Help Desk is closed
  • Cotton gloves (provided by us) must be worn when handling original documents. You don't need to wear these gloves for your entire visit. 

Booking a session

We recommend advance booking for all visitors to Oxfordshire History Centre’s Searchroom. Sessions are split into 9.30am – 1pm, and 1pm - 4.30pm and must now be made via Eventbrite - information on how to book a session. Please leave promptly and by the end of your booked session.

There are no limits on the number of sessions you may book.


All documents from our strongrooms (archives, library materials and microfilms / fiches) must be ordered in the Searchroom, on arrival or during your visit. We are no longer able to accommodate advance requests.

We recommend that you plan ahead by checking the summary guide to our catalogues, and consulting our Heritage Search catalogue, the National Archives catalogue, or our microfilm newspapers list (pdf format, 234Kb) to find specific references for the items you require.

Depositing documents

If you have archive, photographic or library material that you wish to deposit with or gift to Oxfordshire History Centre, you must contact us in advance. We will discuss whether the material is suitable for deposit, and arrange a mutually convenient appointment for it to be brought in.

For archive materials, a rough boxlist will generally need to be provided before we can agree to accept the material.

We will not accept any material brought in without prior agreement and an appointment.

Café and toilets

Public toilets are available. The café is closed but you are welcome to use the reception area for your own food and drink.

Changes to Searchroom rules

  • We've limited the number of designated research seats, computers and microfilm/ fiche machines available 
  • Access to computers and microfilm readers and printers cannot be guaranteed unless booked in advance.
  • Please sit only in the seats or at the equipment which Seachroom duty staff allocate for your use.
  • Pens are not to be used in the Searchroom.

Help with research

A staff member will be present in the Searchroom at all times to answer any queries you have. However, due to limited staff capacity, we will not be able to provide extensive assistance.

Self-service resources

You can consult self-service resources in the Searchroom during your visit. Please leave any self-service items at your table. Resources include:

  • Local Studies (library) materials, including transcripts. These are marked “Open Access” in our Local Studies catalogue and in the Oxford University SOLO catalogue.
  • Hard copy catalogues and handlists in volume format
  • Online resources

Oxfordshire Health Archives

Oxfordshire Health Archives catalogues are not currently available online. These catalogues are in hard copy (volume) format and can be consulted in the Searchroom.

Undigitised photographs

Our photographic collections are catalogued online at www.pictureoxon.org.uk. Thousands of photographs are available to view online, but not all are currently digitised.

Some undigitised photographs are available to visitors in these formats: A4 printed copies in browser files; photographic microfiches.

Consultation of any other original, undigitised photographic material is only possible by prior arrangement with our Photographic and Oral History Officer. 

Uncatalogued material

If you wish to examine uncatalogued material (e.g. archive accessions), please contact us well in advance of your visit to discuss what you wish to look at.

Arrangements for disabled visitors

Arrangements for disabled visitors remain the same. 

If you require someone to accompany you when you visit, they will also need to book a place in the Searchroom. 

Please let us know when booking if you have any other special requirements.

Use of lockers

All bags must be left in the lockers provided and can't be brought into the searchroom. Lockers are available and free to use.

Online services

You can consult some of our digital resources from home. A remote enquiry service is available for people unable to visit, contact us with details of your request. We may be able to answer simple enquiries free of charge, but more extensive research will be chargeable.

We will accept orders for copies of material from History Centre.