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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

Collecting and preserving archives

Information about our work to preserve the archive heritage of County Durham and Darlington.

Since 1961 Durham County Record Office has accepted more than 9000 deposits of records ranging from small collections of personal papers to the records of large companies. Our earliest document dates from about 1122 and the most recent records added to the archives include County Council committee reports for the current year.

Over five miles of records are stored in secure, atmospherically controlled strong rooms, to ensure they survive for future generations.

The Record Office accepts deposits of records and welcomes information about records in need of long-term preservation. If you know of records of local significance, especially where the survival of these records is in any way at risk, we would like to hear from you. Records can either be gifted to the Record Office or else placed on long-term loan. No charge is made for this service (although we do reserve the right to cover our costs if records are subsequently removed from the Record Office).

Durham County Record Office loan agreement (PDF, 19kb)

Important historical documents have been found in attics, cellars and even in dustbins and skips! We are always willing to examine records in private custody, either single items or large collections, and advise on their care and preservation.

We can advise any individual, business or organisation about the records which should be selected for permanent preservation from the bulk of modern papers. When considering which documents should be preserved, please remember:

  • Age is not necessarily a criterion of historical value
  • Many modern records and papers are of potential historical significance.

If you would like further information on depositing records please contact us.