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The Search Room


Please note that the Searchroom has moved to the second floor of Portsmouth Central Library, where it has merged with the Local Studies Library to form Portsmouth History Centre. For more details, see the ‘Visitor Information’ page.

Quick links: Records | Indexes | Tickets | Finding Aids | During Your Visit


Opening times
Please click here to see our opening times, on the Visitor Information page.

You will be asked to sign the visitors' book. Portsmouth City Records Office is a member of the CARN registration scheme; if you have obtained a CARN ticket from another Record Office, you can use it here, but if you have not, you can obtain one provided you show us official proof of your name and current address, e.g. driving licence or utility bill. Day tickets can also be obtained.

We also accept Public Record Office reader tickets, NUS cards, and Portsmouth City Library tickets as valid identification.

We ask visitors not to take bags into Portsmouth History Centre, but lockers are available outside the room.

Only pencils may be used in the History Centre; ink blots and biro marks will never come off!

Please consult the staff on duty if you would like to photograph a document and to collect a form.

Photocopying is only done at the discretion of History Centre staff - if the condition of the item and copyright regulations permit this. Please consult the staff on duty, who will also be able to explain the scale of charges.


Some original documents are held on site at Portsmouth History Centre; the remainder are held off-site and must be requested in advance. 

Original documents held at Portsmouth History Centre

Original documents stored at the History Centre are produced between the following times:

Monday: 10.00 a.m. – 12.00, and 1.30 - 4.45 p.m.

Tuesday - Thursday: 9.00 a.m. – 12.00, and 1.30 – 4.45 p.m.

Saturday: 10.00 a.m. – 12.45, and 1.30 – 2.45 p.m. 


The following original documents are held at Portsmouth History Centre:

 Church Records

All parish records (apart from registers, which are available on microfilm/microfiche in Portsmouth History Centre)

Records of Portsmouth City Council

Sacrament certificates

Quarter Sessions S3, S7-9

School records   

Electoral Registers (pre 1932)

Childrens Committee Minute Books

Civil Defence records (Second World War)      

Workhouse Records

Board of Guardians Minute Books

Creed Registers (which served as admission registers) 

Hospital Records    

Records of St James Hospital

Police Records

Police staff and admin records – not records of crimes/criminals

Orphanage Records

Royal Naval & Royal Marines Orphanage


Original documents stored off-site

Original documents stored off-site must be requested in advance by emailing us (click here to email) or telephoning 023 9268 8046.

If you request a document by 2 p.m. on Tuesday, it will be ready for you at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

If you request a document by 2 p.m. on Wednesday, it will be ready for you at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

To see a document stored off-site on Saturday or Monday, you must request it by 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Please check with staff if you are uncertain about requesting original documents.

To find out more about our oral history collections, which can be accessed at the Portsmouth History Centre, click here.

Portsmouth Records Office
Visit the Records Office site
Visit the Natural History Museum Site
Visit the D-day museum site
Visit the Charles Dickens Birthplace site
Visit the Southsea Castle site
Visit the Portsmouth Museum Portal site


Using the Records Office

Using the Records Office