How to use the Wolfson Centre for archival research

The Wolfson Centre for Archival Research is the reading room of Birmingham Archives & Collections at the Library of Birmingham. We provide access to original and printed records of historical significance relating to the city of Birmingham, its people, businesses, institutions and societies which are collected and preserved by Birmingham Archives and Collections. We may not be able to give you direct access to some items, for example because they are too fragile or for data protection reasons.

Not all listings of records are available online, so if you can’t find what you need, send an enquiry to the address at the bottom of the page.

You will need to book an appointment to view pre-ordered archive material. All appointments and item requests need to be booked in advance via our online booking system.

We require all visitors to the Wolfson Area to bring identification with them.

When you book, you will be asked to agree to our Wolfson Centre Searchroom Procedures. You must familiarise yourself with these before visiting.

To identify the document reference numbers of the material you’d like to see in the Archives, you can search our online catalogue (and this film shows you how to use it). Over 1600 of our catalogues are available to search online, and further catalogues are accessible on The National Archives’ Discovery website.

You can also check out our websites Connecting Histories, Birmingham Images and our blog, the Iron Room. These sites provide detailed information about many of the collections that we hold.

You will need to identify ‘item or series level’ document reference numbers before you book an appointment as you will need to submit these during the booking process. If the information you provide is not sufficient for us to retrieve the items, we may cancel your appointment and ask you to re-book once you have the correct references.

If your need advice to identify references, send us an enquiry to the email address at the bottom of the page.

Once you have made a booking, you will receive an email from the online booking system with details of what to expect on the day. It is important that you read this information before visiting. Ensure you check your spam/junk folder if it does not appear in your inbox.

Do not travel if you have not been able to book an appointment as you will not be allowed to enter the building.

Archives card

We require all visitors to the Wolfson Centre to bring their Archives Card or the identification to obtain one.

Making copies

If you want to make copies of the material you view, you will need to bring a camera device to take photographs (without flash) during your visit.

There is a daily charge of £3.50 for making copies of material. Payment will be taken when you visit us. Do not worry if you’re unsure whether you will need to make any copies before you visit, you will only be charged if you do on the day.

You can read the terms of use in our Guidance on Self-Service Photography in Archives and Collections and agree to them on the online booking form.

Page last updated: 7 February 2024

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