Skip Navigation • Access Keys • Frequently Asked Questions •

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

Search Room Rules

These rules are to ensure the safety and preservation of the archives, and to enable our customers to work in a secure environment. You must agree to these rules to have access to the archives.

  1. Please make an appointment to ensure that either a desk space or a microfilm reader is available for you to use.
  2. Please hang your coat on the coat hooks just inside the Search Room door, or leave it in one of the lockers outside the Search Room.
  3. Please leave all bags, cases, files, plastic wallets and other similar containers in one of the lockers outside the Search Room, and keep your locker key with you. You should only take a notebook up to size A4 (21cm x 29cm) and/or up to six loose sheets of paper and pencils into the Search Room. If you bring loose papers, we will issue you with a clipboard. Please do not keep loose papers in your notebook. As you leave, please present your notebook/papers to a member of staff for checking.
  4. You can bring a laptop into the Search Room, but we will ask you to show it to us, open, before you leave.
  5. You cannot smoke, drink or eat (even sweets) in the Search Room. You can return to your locker as often as you need to and there are facilities for eating and drinking elsewhere in County Hall.
  6. Please write your name and full address clearly in the Search Room register and complete the 'Purpose of Research' and 'Locker Number' columns.
  7. Forms to request documents are available on each table in the Search Room. You should place completed forms in the box provided. You can ask for up to three items at any one time, but you can only look at one volume or bundle of documents at a time. Please request your documents before 4.15pm. Documents are produced, in most cases, within a few minutes of your request, so there is no need to order them in advance, unless your visit is on Wednesday evening. Please request documents before 2pm on Wednesdays if they are for use on Wednesday evening). Orders for Wednesday evening will be restricted to a maximum of 10 items.
  8. We cannot produce documents if they are fragile, closed by law, closed at the request of the owner, or closed at the discretion of the County Archivist.
  9. You must consult original documents at a desk in the Search Room and not remove them from the Search Room.
  10. You should only use a pencil to take notes from documents.
  11. You must always handle documents with care and not mark them in any way. Weights are available to keep large documents or maps flat and cushions are available to support volumes. Please do not lean on any documents, or rest your paper on them to take notes.
  12. Please tell a member of staff immediately about any damage to a document or to a microfilm or microfiche.
  13. You can sometimes use a digital camera or tracing paper to copy documents, but you should ask a member of staff first, for permission, details of charges, and for the relevant forms. In most cases, we can supply you with copies of documents.
  14. You cannot sell, reproduce or publish copies and transcripts of documents cared for by the Record Office without permission. Please see User Guide 3, Copying and Publication of Documents, for details.
  15. Please work as quietly as possible to avoid disturbing other users. You should switch off your mobile phone. Children should be supervised and have something quiet to occupy them.