The National Archives

  • Public Record Office (1838-2003)


The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey
United Kingdom


+44 020 8876 3444


+44 020 8392 5286


The National Archives is a government department and an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice. We incorporate the Office of Public Sector Information and Her Majesty's Stationery Office. We also perform the Historical Manuscripts Commission's functions in relation to private records. As the government's national archive for England, Wales and the United Kingdom, we hold over 1,000 years of the nation's records for everyone to discover and use.Between 2003 and 2006, four government bodies - each specialising in particular aspects of managing information - joined together to form a single organisation in The National Archives: the Public Record Office, created as a result of the Public Record Office Act 1838 - the national archive of England, Wales and the United Kingdom government, dedicated to preserving key public records and making them accessible to researchersthe Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, appointed under Royal Warrant in 1869 to locate and identify manuscripts and private papers of historical interest, reporting on their contents Her Majesty's Stationery Office, founded in 1786, holder of Crown copyright and official printer of all Acts of Parliament since 1889the Office of Public Sector Information, created in 2005 following a European Union directive to promote the re-use of information produced and collected by public sector organisations

Archival and Other Holdings

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.Among others contains restitution-related material: holds records of the Board of Jewish Deputies and of the Foreign Office.

Opening Times

Monday Closed

Tuesday 09.00 - 19.00

Wednesday 09.00 - 17.00

Thursday 09.00 - 19.00

Friday 09.00 - 17.00

Saturday 09.00 - 17.00

Sunday Closed

Research Services

Information about paid research, see here

Reproduction Services

Information about the copying service, see here


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