The National Archives

The National Archives

The National Archives is the UK government's official archive, containing over 1,000 years of history. We give detailed guidance to government departments and the public sector on information management and advise others about the care of historical archives.
See our opening times and what you should know before you arrive. Visit Us >>


National Archives collection

The National Archives collection of over 11 million historical government and public records is one of the largest in the world. From Domesday Book to modern government papers and digital files, our collection includes paper and parchment, electronic records and websites, photographs, posters, maps, drawings and paintings.
As a general rule, government records that have been selected for permanent preservation are sent to The National Archives when they are 30 years old, but many are transferred to us earlier under the Freedom of Information Act.

Records Held At The National Archives

Visit our Catalogue >> to search descriptions of the records that we hold and to find out how you can view them. You can download many of our digitised public records through Documents Online >>.

Contact Details
View Our Website UK National Archives     UK National Archives
Contact Website The National Archives     +44 (0) 20 8876 3444
Contact The National Archives     The National Archives
Kew, Richmond
Surrey, TW9 4DU

Researching at Kew
A beginner's guide to the National Archives.

If you are travelling by train you will alight at Kew Gardens station. It is about 10 minutes flat walk to the National Archives but it is well signposted. Drivers should follow the directions on the National Archives website at  National Archives >>. There is a large public carpark, and a row of disabled parking bays at the back of the building; access to them is via a security barrier press the button to alert the security guard.


Choosing A Researcher at the National Archives (Public Record Office) Kew.

We are often asked on the mailing list to recommend a maritime researcher but unfortunately it is not something we are prepared to do, for two reasons:
Firstly, we have numerous researchers among our regular subscribers to Mariners. It would be unfair to them if we were to single out any one of them. Nor can we accept messages asking about researchers; recommending them by name, or posted by researchers themselves as deliberate advertising, either overt or covert. It would be unfair to allow any one of them to have an unfair advantage over the others and nor do we want Mariners to become a market place. For the most part, our researcher-subscribers understand our situation and support us.
Secondly, no two pieces of research are the same. Seamen’s service records of the early 19th Century require a completely different approach from research into convoys of WWll; someone who is excellent at one may be a little less experienced with the other. Recommendations may work very well, but each piece of research is unique. It is for the client to make the necessary investigations in order to find someone who seems to offer exactly what they are looking for, in the right time frame and at the right price. However, we acknowledge the major problems faced by anyone unable to get to Kew themselves. The following points may help you when faced with the choice.