To ensure continued access to the collections at the Borthwick Institute, crucial work is being undertaken over the summer to install new equipment and to update the shelving units upon which our collections are stored.
As part of this work, a significant number of records (about 5,000 boxes) have been transferred to temporary offsite storage. Records can be recalled but the process can take some time. We would therefore ask that you notify us of the specific records (files/items) you wish to consult at least seven working days in advance of a proposed date of visiting (and ideally as early as possible). This provides staff with time to check the status of the requested records and to recall records held offsite if necessary. We unfortunately cannot guarantee researchers access to their required records if we receive these requests at shorter notice/on the day of their visit.
If planning a trip to the Institute over the summer, we therefore strongly recommend contacting us as soon as possible to discuss your research needs. For this same reason we advise researchers not to book accommodation, travel etc until their booking at the Institute has been confirmed.In response to COVID-19, we’ve made some changes to the way we operate. These changes are intended to help create a safe environment for both visitors and staff so that we can keep our doors open and all get back to the work we love.
The guidance below will help you prepare for your visit. We look forward to seeing you and thank you for your patience and cooperation as we continue to navigate these unprecedented circumstances.
Please visit the University's transport pages for information on getting here and information on parking, buses, cycle routes etc.
Please refer to our accessibility information web page if you have any accessibility requirements.
Please do not book or attend an appointment if you have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), if you are awaiting a test result, or if you have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
For visitors to the Borthwick we are open Monday to Wednesday from 9.30am to 4.30pm. Please note that the searchroom and microform room are closed between 12.30pm and 1.30pm to allow us to clean tables and prepare work spaces for afternoon appointments.
For the safety of our visitors and staff, we are limiting the number of appointments available. There are two bookable sessions each day. These are from 9.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.30pm. All-day appointments can be booked subject to availability.
From Monday 28 February 2022, the microform room will be open to researchers at weekends (08:00-midnight) and weekday evenings (16:30-midnight). Please see under ‘Weekend and Evening Access to the Microform Room’ section for more details.
Please contact us to book an appointment, either via email or phone:
We're based in the University of York Library, on the Heslington West campus. Unless you are exempt from doing so, we strongly recommend wearing a face covering when inside the Library.
Please tell staff at the Library entrance that you have an appointment at the Borthwick. Staff will also be available to direct you to the Borthwick reception and searchroom.
Researchers wishing to consult microform records outside of our staffed hours can now do so on weekends (08:00-midnight) and weekday evenings (16:30-midnight). The microform room can be accessed via the first floor landing in the Raymond Burton Library.
Bookings cannot be taken for access to the microform room during these hours. The digital microform readers, from which digital copies of the records can be taken by bringing along a USB/Memory Stick, are therefore available only on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. We do however have several traditional, hand-operated microfilm readers in the event that all the digital readers are in use.
Please be aware that no staff support will be available during these hours. In the microform room, there are printed instructions available on how to use the digital microform readers, as well as finding aids for our principal microform collections. You can also find digitised copies of these finding aids on our website.
We will be able to respond to enquiries via email, telephone, post and social media during this time. For more extensive enquiries, our searching service has now resumed. Our copying service continues to be available but please note that the copying of original probate files remains temporarily suspended.
Many of our Parish registers, Bishops’ Transcripts and Marriage Bonds and Allegations are available via Find My Past, and our Cause Papers, Archbishops' Registers, and Retreat hospital archive are available, for free, 24/7 online.
We have installed new signs, perspex screens, and hand sanitiser stations. We ask you to practice good hand hygiene, maintain a safe distance from other people and take time to read our guidance. We will be cleaning our facilities between each session.
At present we are still limiting the number of onsite visitors. Each morning and afternoon session will accommodate no more than five people at a time in the searchroom and three people at a time in the microform room.
We strongly recommend that you wear a face covering when visiting the Borthwick Institute for Archives unless you are exempt from doing so.
No, you will only need to wear gloves if handling very delicate or photographic materials. We are providing sanitiser stations and cleaning facilities. We are following best practice guidance on limiting risks from the virus while also caring for the documents.
We ask all visitors to follow our Visitor Guidance which explains the safety measures that are in place. We will allocate seating to provide everyone with sufficient space to work. Any concerns should be raised with a member of staff.
Unfortunately, no. We do however plan to periodically review our opening policies, and any changes will be communicated via the news pages of our website and social media feeds.
You can however access our microform records without a booking outside of our staffed hours. For further information please see the section ‘Weekend and Evening Access to the Microform Room’.
We ask that researchers consulting original documents continue to pre-order their documents in advance of their visit. Retrieval in advance allows us to assess and prepare your documents and guarantee their availability. It also ensures that you can make the most of your time with us. To support visitors, we have now introduced two additional retrieval times (10.45am and 2.45pm) to enable you to request a further six documents per session should you require them. Our staff are available to help you select documents before your visit. Please contact us via email or phone.
Microfilm records are available to browse and select on a self-service basis
You will need to continue to book your appointment with us in advance of visiting, and we recommend giving us as much notice as possible. This allows us to assess availability in our reading room and to prepare your documents. For some archival material, we require a minimum of 24 hours' notice before your appointment.
Information on how to search our online catalogue and learn more about our holdings is available. If you need any help or have any questions, please do get in touch via email or phone.
Lockers will be available and will be allocated on arrival. All lockers and keys will be thoroughly cleaned between each use.
Toilets will be available. The library cafe serves sandwiches and hot and cold snacks and has a range of indoor and outdoor seating. No food or drink can be consumed in the Borthwick itself.
We advise you to bring a camera and purchase a photographic licence if you would like to take copies. We can take orders for digitised copies (where the document is suitable for this) but will not be able to provide copies during your visit. Any copies ordered will be sent on either to your email address, or by post with the addition of a postage fee.
You are welcome to browse and access the paper finding aids and publications in our searchroom reception. We’re also working to make more of our finding aids available through our online catalogue.
Yes! We aim to be as helpful as possible. However at present it is not be possible for us to sit near you to give specific help or guidance.
We are still limiting the number of onsite users at any one time, to ensure each visitor has enough space in which to work comfortably. We have removed access to some readers and computers to ensure this.
Unfortunately, we have removed all the pencils. You will need to bring everything you need with you.
We can take contactless or card payments. Unfortunately, we cannot accept cash.
You’ll find a number of research guides on our website that are designed to help visitors discover and interpret the archives in our care.
A number of our archives also have dedicated search tools or are available to browse online.