Visiting Us

What you need to know

Location, contact details, opening times

Before your visit

It is always advisable to make an appointment before visiting as we cannot always guarantee that we will have space. Bookings can be made by email, telephone or letter.

Some documents are held offsite, it is always useful to order in advance.

Remember to bring your reader's ticket.

There is no charge to use our service but you will need to pay for copies, prints or a camera permit. We accept cash or card payments.

Bring papers and notes that are essential for the day in one see-through bag or folder.

You can bring your laptop and digital camera (and chargers).

You can search our Cheshire Collection indexes online before you visit even if you don't have a subscription with Find My Past. You can also search our catalogues online.

You can use a USB memory stick to save documents from public access computers.

Bring pencils not a pen.

When you arrive

On each visit we ask to see your reader's ticket, and that you sign the searchroom register.

You will be given a table or microfilm reader number.

You will be given a locker key and asked to leave food and drink, all coats, bags, laptop and camera cases, bulky files and folders in the cloakroom. You can borrow a see-through zip folder from us to hold papers you need to refer to.

You will need to bring your reader's ticket with you into the searchroom.

About our Reader's Ticket

We are part of the CARN Reader's Ticket scheme. This is a national system of registering users of archive services. Your reader's ticket is issued free, valid for four years and gives you access to other particpating record office.

We will aks you to complete an application and we need to see original proof of identity with your name, address and signature. A driving license is ideal, but, for example, a recent bank statement or utility bill together with a signed bank card would also be suitable. Please note a UK passport does not include your address.

We can issue a temporary ticket if you don't have ID with you or if you forget your reader's ticket, but a temporary ticket is only valid for a maximum of three visits.

If you lose your reader's ticket or change address, please let us know and we can issue a new ticket. To obtain a new ticket, you will need to show us original proof of identity again.

Do you need a copy?

You can use your digital camera or camera phone with no flash. You will need to fill in a camera permit form and pay a charge.

We can make a copy for you. You need to fill in a yellow copy order form. If the item is flat and up to A3, we may be able to do the copying during your visit.

Prints from microfilm and computers are self service and cost 50p per sheet.

Accessing our collections

You can browse the books and Local Studies resources shelved around our searchroom.

Many of our most consulted collections have been digitised and are available to search and view online with the subscription site Find My Past. These include parish registers, electoral registers, wills, marriage licenses and workhouse registers.

You can use the People's Network public access computers around the searchroom when you need them. They have internet access and on-screen links to our online resources and useful websites for family and local history.

Our Archives and Local Studies catalogues are online, but you can also consult printed catalogues, indexes and guides to our collections. These will give you the reference numbers you need to request the items you are interested in.

Ordering documents

To order a document you need to fill in a 'Request Slip' for each item, place it in the box at the 'Document Issue and Return' desk and a member of staff will bring the document from our strongrooms. Documents are collected from and returned to the same desk.

We take last orders for documents 45 minutes before closing; there is no lunchtime production from our strongrooms between 12.00 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. and it would be helpful if document requests are presented by 12.00 p.m. to allow enough time for production. Last orders for documents is at 16.15