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The National Archives now open and offering greater access to collections

The National Archives (TNA) have announced that they are increasing the access to the site at Kew. After welcoming back visitors into their reading rooms in July they are now able to expand their services and increase capacity, so that they can accommodate more visitors and give them greater access to TNA's collections.

From Tuesday 25 August The National Archives will be opening up their second floor map and large document reading room, as well as increasing the number of seats available in the first floor document reading room. Visitors will also be able to order more documents each day (nine instead of six), and TNA will also have a small number of two-day appointments available for visitors wishing to research bulk document orders (between 20 and 40).

All visitors are still required to book their visit and order their documents in advance.

The National Archives report that their building and services will look very different to regular visitors, as they’ve been busy introducing a number of measures to ensure the safety of their visitors and staff. These include:

  • New booking system to help them manage visitor numbers – all visits have to be pre-booked without exception, with a limit of one visit per week, and all documents ordered in advance
  • New document delivery processes to protect visitors and staff, and to ensure that documents are quarantined appropriately
  • One-way systems and capacity controls in frequently used areas
  • Floor markers and temporary signage to help with social distancing
  • Rigorous cleaning during and at the end of each day
  • Easier access to sinks for hand washing and provision of hand sanitiser.
  • Due to a change in the law, all visitors will be required to wear face coverings during their visit.

In order to visit TNA they are asking everyone booking a visit to agree to a new coronavirus visitor charter, aimed at encouraging all visitors to do their bit to help them ensure everyone’s safety. TNA will not permit anyone to enter the building who has not pre-booked, so please do not travel if you have not been able to book as they will not be able to let you in. The National Archives are open from Tuesday to Friday, between 10:00 and 14:50.

While they are currently able to provide access to their first floor document reading room and second floor map and large document reading room only – their other facilities will remain closed, including the reference library, exhibition spaces, shop, and the cafés. TNA say they will also be unable to provide many of their other usual reading room services, including, access to microfilm and microfiche, research advice, record copying and access to the computers.

In the current times TNA say that they will continue to provide free downloads of digital records on their website for the time being, as they are initially only able to re-open for a very limited number of researchers. This, ofcourse, and all of TNA opening arrangements are under constant review.


Read the full post on The National Archives' website: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/coronavirus-update/

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