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Researching in the Archives

Find out how to make an appointment and what to expect from your visit.

Planning a visit

The British Jesuit Archives is a private archive and visits are by appointment only. Researchers must contact the Archives to arrange a visit and provide details of their research topic so that the Archivist can advise on relevant material. 

The Archives is closed weekends, public holidays and for the month of September to allow the Archives staff to concentrate on cataloguing. Special arrangements may be made with the Archivist at her discretion.

The Archives are located in a basement area which may be accessed via a lift from the ground floor. Steps, however, must be climbed in order to gain access to the lift, which can make access problematic. Enquirers are asked to discuss their needs with the Archivist. If there are any other access concerns please also discuss these with the Archivist.

How do I find out what records you hold?

What will I need to bring with me?

What will I need to pay to use the Archives?

Can I take photographs?

Can I access material remotely?

Useful documents

New to archives? You might find these guides, put together by the Explore Your Archive Resource Team, a useful starting point.

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Arrival & facilities

On the first visit to the Archives a reader registration form will need to be completed. The act of registering carries with it a legal obligation to observe the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and Data Protection Act.

A visitors’ book needs to be filled out on every visit. Signing implies an undertaking to abide by these regulations and all others for the use of and reproduction of materials held within the Archives. Infringement will render a reader liable to exclusion.

Desks with power-points are available for users with laptops, and the room is also wireless enabled. Users may take notes, but are not permitted to make a copy in any manner without acquiring the permission of the Archivist. Please ask for advice on the correct procedure.

A reference library is also available for you to consult during your visit.

Archives staff will provide you with advice on how to handle material to ensure the preservation of the records and are here to assist you during your visit so please raise any concerns with them.

Using the collections

A 40 year closure period applies to some records and for curatorial reasons access to some records may be prohibited. To minimise wear or tear on original documents and help preserve them for future generations, surrogates or alternative formats should be used where available. Please follow any handling guidance given when material is issued to help ensure the preservation of the archives.

It is incredibly helpful if you can let the Archivist know what material you are interested in seeing during a visit so that it can be made ready for you and advise if there are any access restrictions associated with the requested material. See the 'How can I find out what records you hold?' page for more information about how to identify relevant material to your research.


The Archives are for reference only and no borrowing of documents is permissible. Readers are responsible for all material issued to them and must be careful at all times when handling original materials and fragile printed works. Any damage or accident must be reported at once to a member of staff. The number of documents, books or objects issued at any one time to a reader may be limited. If these limitations cause inconvenience, please speak to staff. No publication right is vested in any reader through the issue of a document, book or object. All publication right is reserved.

A full list of the regulations is available for consultation in the reading room. 

Regulations for using the Archives

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