Parliamentary records are at the heart of our democracy. They have embodied our liberties, rights and responsibilities for over five hundred years. The Parliamentary Archives helps Parliament work more efficiently and openly, enabling it to make its decisions and act as effectively as possible. And we want to inspire everyone with the compelling story of Parliament, people, and communities right up to the present day.
We aim to to provide innovative and expert information management, preservation, access and outreach services enabling anyone in the world to use Parliament’s records, both now and in the future.
Follow us on Twitter: @UKParlArchives
The Parliamentary Archives Search Room is open to all. No special letters of introduction are required and no readers' tickets are issued, but we do require you to carry photographic proof of identity.
Visits are by appointment only and you will not be admitted without one. Please contact us in advance of your visit to make an appointment, and give at least two working days' notice.
We are usually open Monday to Friday (certain Public Holidays excepted), 10 AM to 4 PM. Please always check the website for up-to-date opening times and access information. http://www.parliament.uk/archives
The office is closed for annual stocktaking in the last two weeks of November.
Please search our online catalogue Portcullis http://www.portcullis.parliament.uk in advance of your visit if possible, and email us a list of the records you wish to see. We can then fetch them out in advance of your arrival and save you waiting time once you are here.
Once you are here, documents can also normally be retrieved on request, except between 11.45am and 1.15pm and after 3.00pm. Please note, it may not be possible to retrieve large items on demand.
Free wireless internet is available for searchers to use on their own laptops or mobile computers, and plug sockets.
Lockers are provided for bags and coats.
Toilets (including one suitable for wheelchair users) are close to the Search Room.
There is a small kitchen area with free tea and coffee and a fridge and drinking water available. There is also a Reader's Lounge where users may eat their own food and drink.
Digital cameras are permitted but no flash may be used. Please check the website for terms & conditions of digital camera use.
Copying services are available for providing paper or digital copies of records. Please check the website for up-to-date copying fees.
The Parliamentary Archives holds several million historical records relating to Parliament, dating from 1497 to present day. These include:
- Records of the House of Commons and House of Lords, including Acts of Parliament, Journals, Committee papers, papers laid before both Houses, and plans of roads, railways, canals and other public works desposited in relation to private bills
- Other collections relating to Parliament
- Private political papers, including those of David Lloyd George, Andrew Bonar Law and Lord Beaverbrook
- Records about the Palace of Westminster
Archives, Law and Order, Social History, Architecture, Inland Waterways, Trade and Commerce, Industry, Land Transport
Parliamentary Heritage: Civilisations Festival panel discussion
- 8 March 2018 5:30-6:45pm
An expert from each team will argue the case that an object from their collection represents the best of civilisation. The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions and vote for whichever object they think most represents the best of civilisation.
Objects that will be discussed include Westminster Hall, a 1587 copy of the Magna Carta, the 'New Dawn' artwork, Hansard, a Commonwealth Table and a 1806 Slave Trade Petition.
The departments represented include the Parliamentary Archives, Parliamentary Art Collection/Vote 100, Historic Furnishings, House of Lords Library, House of Commons Library and Strategic Estates.
This event is free but booking is essential.
- Any age
Houses of Parliament
Please remember to bring ID and give yourself 15 minutes to get through security.
Parliamentary Archives online catalogue, the gateway to the Parliamentary Archives.
Explore the history, building and collections of Parliament and the impact of Parliament on everyday lives over the centuries
Parliament's Web Archive
Parliament's Web Archive provides access to previous versions of the parliamentary website and related websites.
Private Bill Witness Database
An electronic tool for finding information about individuals who gave evidence before Opposed Private Bill Committees in Parliament in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Houses of Parliament
Parliamentary Archives website
Living Heritage: explore the history, building and collections of Parliament and the impact of Parliament on everyday lives over the centuries
0207 219 3074