When you hand over your records with us you'll receive a receipt detailing the records you have deposited and the conditions we have agreed. Each deposit is given a unique accession number, to identify it. Archival records will also be given a catalogue number which identifies the archive collection to which they will be assigned.
When they arrive, your archive will go through a quarantine process. Our staff check for anything which might cause damage, such as mould or live insects. If necessary, the archives are treated, and then they are cleaned, packaged, and transferred to our stores.
Our archive stores conform to the British Standard for archival storage so that we maintain the right environmental conditions to preserve archives. We also take care to protect our stores from fire, flood, insects and rodents, theft and vandalism.
Our conservation team monitors our stores and professionally qualified conservators can carry out specialist repair work to documents where necessary.
After you transfer archives to our custody, we'll advertise them to researchers by adding summary details to our catalogue. Fuller cataloguing will follow, according to our priorities and the resources available.
We also send an annual return to The National Archives who publicise our accessions and catalogues.
We provide public access to the archives under supervision in our search room. Anyone can come and use them as long as there is no legislation to prevent it. We sometimes need to restrict access to archives, for instance because they contain information about living individuals which is protected under data protection legislation.
We also provide a research and copying service for people who can't come in person.