Service Update: April Re-opening


Buckinghamshire Archives is re-opening to the public on Tuesday 13th April.  This will be a limited re-opening for access to archive documents only, and arrangements will be the same as they were for our periods of re-opening in Summer/Autumn 2020.  The below gives you a guide to how the service will be running for information, we’re not expecting you to remember it all! Staff will remind you on the day.


The Searchroom will be open from 1pm-4pm Tuesday-Thursday by appointment only. There will be three research stations, divided by Perspex screens. Local Studies will remain shut for the present, though subscriptions to Ancestry and other resources are accessible by bringing a laptop into the Searchroom.

The stations are all located on what is our map table in normal times. They will be:

  • Station 1 – Suitable for an individual looking at maps
  • Station 2 – Suitable for an individual
  • Station 3 – Suitable for an individual or a couple working together. A couple visiting together must be from the same household or bubble.

Each research station will be permitted to order up to 8 documents in advance (a couple working together at Station 3 can request 8 items between them not 8 items each). There is no additional production on the day.


Booking a space

We will be booking seats up to four weeks in advance; in the first instance this will be up to and including 4 May. To book one, get in touch by email giving us at least 2 working days notice before your intended arrival to allow us to identify any issues with the documents you've ordered and clarify with you if necessary. We’re expecting bookings to be busy, so we’d strongly recommend giving as much notice as you can.  Please book via our email; note that our phone-lines are not currently working.  

You’ll need to provide:

  • the date you would like to attend
  • the type of seat you want
  • how many are in your party
  • your telephone number
  • the reference number of up to 8 items you’d like to see an order of preference if you have one

You must wear a face-mask throughout your visit and must not remove it until you are off the premises.  If you need a breather, please ask the staff to let you go outside for one. However, if you feel feel that you are exempt from wearing a face covering as listed in the government guidance on mandatory face coverings at cultural/heritage sites, please let us know in advance. A list of the exemptions is at point 7 of the Q&A on the page  in which the guidance was issued

We will check availability and give you a call to confirm your space and ensure you are aware of the way the service will be running and let you know your table number.



Buckinghamshire Archives will not be open to general admission, when you arrive, our shutters may still be down: please be reassured that these will be opened at 1pm, and a member of staff will welcome you in once you have put a face covering on, within the parameters of social distancing.  We will only admit one reader at a time, so we may ask you to wait briefly outside whilst we sign in someone else. 

We will ask you to sign in at the desk in Local Studies ensuring you maintain a 2m gap as indicated by signage. We are not asking you to show ID for the time being but we are asking for slightly different information as we are participating in Test and Trace. Staff signing in will give you a brief introduction to the available facilities including lockers and toilets, ask you to sanitise your hands and point you to the searchroom. We will no longer be asking researchers to wear gloves.



Using the searchroom

Make sure to bring your own equipment including pencil and computer as well as a camera if you’d like copies.

Speak to the invigilator on duty behind the Perspex screen, who will confirm your seat and remind you how the searchroom is running.

Please sit in the seat you have been assigned. Staff will place the first document you’ve ordered at your table ready for your arrival. When you’re finished with the document, place it in the spot marked with an X. Staff will remove it and issue you with your next document.

If you have questions for the staff on duty please remember to follow social distancing regulations. If someone else is already asking a question, please wait until the invigilator is free rather than to queue.

If you need to leave the searchroom please ensure the invigilator is aware. The space has several blind corners which can provide a social distancing risk, so staff may ask you to wait for a moment if another researcher is expected to return to the searchroom imminently.

Please let us know when you leave the building so we can keep track of who is on site. The front door will be set to allow you to leave without staff input but will lock behind you as you leave.


Suspended facilities

Various elements of our usual facilities remain suspended for a variety of reasons related to Coronavirus, generally because we have been unable to establish a way to continue safely given the need for social distancing and enhanced cleaning.

They are:

Local Studies remains closed for now. The tables are all wired in and create a lot of tight spaces in which enforcing social distancing is impossible. Access to the books and computers is also suspended given difficulties over social distancing and cleaning. Access to Library subscriptions will be available to readers bringing their own equipment and booking a seat in the Archive searchroom.

Refreshment facilities. We’re not selling tea, coffee or hot chocolate nor is our Coffee Room open. If you need to eat or drink you will need to do so outside Buckinghamshire Archives.

Computers and book scanner in the searchroom.


Reduced facilities

Some facilities are still operational but not running at full strength.

The toilets are open, though only one of the two cubicles can be used. A slider is on the door to indicate whether they are in use or not.

We will not be offering an on demand photocopying service to minimise the number of people involved in handling documents. Copies of documents can still be obtained by buying a daily camera pass at the reduced rate of £5.00 per day.

Access to books and hardcopy catalogues in the searchroom are restricted to staff, who will help you with queries as required.

We’re reviewing all the above at the end of each month to make sure we’re happy that we can deliver the service in a way that keeps everyone safe. We will consider extending the service towards our normal levels as we are able to.

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