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Visiting the Archives Centre

The Churchill Archives Centre is currently running a restricted reading room service. We will continue to offer a limited but free copying and enquiry service and welcome enquiries sent to archives@chu.cam.ac.uk.

We are currently limiting the number of tours and group visits we can offer, and will prioritise educational groups. For more information email Dr Amanda Jones.

Summary of what we are offering researchers

  • We will be open Monday-Friday each week for pre-booked visitors from 10.00-17.00 each day.
  • We currently accommodate six researchers per day.
  • We produce files in advance of your visit and on request throughout the day, with a break between 1230 and 1330, and with last productions at 1600. We ask that you let us know what documents you would like to consult initially at least 3 working days in advance of your visit so we can have them ready for your arrival. Further files can be ordered either by asking the staff member on duty in the reading room or by emailing archives@chu.cam.ac.uk.
  • Bookings can be made by e-mail to archives@chu.cam.ac.uk or by phone on 01223 336087. We will confirm all bookings and do our best to meet the pattern that best suits your research visit.
  • We are also pleased to offer a remote copying service and can carry out limited research on your behalf. Please see our copying page for more information.

What do I need to know before visiting?

Some of our procedures have changed in response to the ongoing public health situation. In addition to the Centre’s normal regulations, it is recommended that visitors should wear face coverings (unless exempt as per previous Government advice), and should observe social distancing. Further details are provided below; if you have any questions, or if you need assistance with any aspect of your visit, please let us know and we will try to confirm the necessary arrangements and assist where we can.

 

  • New researchers will need to register in advance and bring one form of photographic ID on their first visit (e.g. a passport or driving licence).
  • Information on how to find us is available here.  On arrival, please follow the signs directly to the Archives Centre. There is no need to report to the Porters’ Lodge.
  • We will be open Monday-Friday each week for pre-booked visitors from 10.00 am to 17.00 pm daily.
  • Please be sensitive to other researchers arriving at the same time as you. You may be asked to take a seat for a few minutes while others register.
  • Researchers can arrive at or leave the Archives Centre at any point during the day.
  • It is recommended that all researchers visiting the Archives Centre should wear a face covering while indoors on-site, except when eating and drinking in our designated areas. We are highly sensitive and supportive to those researchers who are exempt from this expectation. See the University’s Coronavirus Information pages for a helpful list of medical exemptions. Do contact us if you have any concerns or queries.
  • Social distancing of at least a metre is required when indoors on site.
  • We ask you not to travel to us if you have or have experienced any of the usual symptoms of Covid, or have tested positive. If you experience symptoms or test positive shortly after your visit, we ask that you contact us so we can contact other researchers and staff on duty during your visit, and provide this information to NHS Test and Trace. A NHS app QR code is provided at the entrance to the Archives Centre.

Hand sanitiser is available at various points around the College and Archives Centre, however we ask that you wash your hands with soap and water before handling documents, due to concerns about potential effects of alcohol based sanitiser on documents.

What services will be available for visiting researchers?

The services we can offer researchers have been reviewed in detail by our team and will continue to be reviewed to keep staff and visitors safe.

All services may be subject to change or even cancellation at short notice due to circumstances beyond our control.

 

  • Research desk

A desk will be reserved for each researcher and an allocated trolley will be placed near the desk with their pre-ordered documents.

  • Lockers

Lockers are available just outside the Reading Room for storage of all items not required for your research.

  • Catering facilities

Lunch can be purchased in the College main hall, where researchers can also take their own food, and the College bar (buttery) is also open and can be used by researchers.

  • Accommodation

Visitors to the Archives Centre may be able to stay in College though generally this facility is only available outside term time. Archives visitors will be asked to pay at the Porters’ Lodge upon arrival.  Churchill College is also home to the award-winning Møller Institute, a conference centre which offers excellent accommodation facilities.  Some of the other Cambridge colleges also offer bed and breakfast accommodation and details can be obtained from universityrooms.com while further details of local accommodation can be obtained from Tourist Information.

 

  • Parking

College’s ‘top car park’ at the far end of the site is available [see this College map]. Visitors with a ‘blue badge’, or similar needs, may also be able to park in designated spaces. Please confirm requirements in advance.

  • Helping with on-site research

We can answer enquiries in our reading room but would like to limit direct contact between staff and researchers. We will have staff available to monitor and respond to enquiries you might have during the day. These queries will initially be answered by e-mail.

email archives@chu.cam.ac.uk

  • Wifi

You will be able to use your personal electronic devices to connect to our wifi. We can supply wifi codes for researchers on demand.

  • Taking digital photos

Researchers can continue to take digital photographs for their personal research, in line with copyright regulations as set out in our registration form.

  • Services not currently available

Microfilm resources are not available. It may be possible to print specific items for researchers.

Rules in the Reading Room

For the security and preservation of the unique documents within our care, we kindly ask researchers to observe the following rules:

 

  • No smoking is permitted anywhere in the Archives Centre building.
  • No drinking or eating (including sweets, gum and throat pastilles) is permitted in the reading room.
  • Bags, coats and briefcases (including laptop bags and camera cases) must be left in the lockers provided. Researchers are asked to only bring essential items into the reading room. Large items of luggage cannot be accommodated.
  • Pencils only should be used for note-taking (pens are not allowed into the reading room). Pencils will be provided on your trolley.
  • Yellow paper only should be used for note-taking (in order to distinguish the researcher’s notes from the archival material). If you are bringing other essential papers into the reading room, they must be kept separate from archival originals. Yellow paper will be provided on your trolley.
  • Papers must be handled with great care and each file returned in a tidy condition. Researchers are required to follow handling guidelines issued by the Archives Centre.
  • Please keep papers in the order that you found them, (even if that does not appear to be the correct order to you).
  • The use of photocopiers and scanners is not permitted. You may use your own equipment (eg camera, smartphone or tablet) to take photographs of documents subject to certain restrictions (e.g. no flash photography).
  • When taking photographs your handling of the original papers should not change i.e. you should continue to practise safe handling according to the guidelines you are given and continue to be careful to retain the order of papers in the file.

The Reading Room is constantly monitored by security cameras. Researchers may be asked to show the contents of their file/bags on leaving the Archives Centre.

Accessibility

The Archives Centre Reading Room is located on the first floor, with access by stairs or lift. Provision will need to be made elsewhere for those researchers who cannot use the stairs to evacuate in the case of emergency. Please let us know in advance and we will make the necessary arrangements.

Toilets are located on the first floor, near to the entrance of the Reading Room. The nearest wheelchair accessible toilet is on the College’s main concourse.

The reading room is air-conditioned and can feel cold, with a particular difference from outside temperatures during summer months. Researchers are advised to bring warm clothing.

During the Covid-19 pandemic we are limiting the time for which we run the air conditioning system, which means that the Reading Room can also be particularly cold when outside temperatures are low.

The air conditioning system emits a constant low level noise in the Reading Room. Noise-cancelling headphones or similar aids are permitted.

There are four dedicated disabled parking spaces available for the use of visitors and members of the College with disabilities. Additional parking spaces can also be reserved.

A map of the College including the location of the Archives Centre is distributed as part of our booking confirmation, and a hard copy can be obtained from the Porter’s Lodge on arrival, where directions can also be provided. There is signage from the main entrance of the College to the Archives Centre. A member of the Archives team can also meet you at the front of College, or at our car parks, if arranged in advance.

Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your visit easier.