The main functions of the Archives are to ensure the preservation of historic artefacts, archive documents and Local Studies material relating to the County of Northumberland and to make these available for consultation by the public. The largest element of our holdings is the Archive collection. We acquire (by deposit or gift) a wide range of archives from both official and private sources that relate to almost all aspects of the history of Northumberland and hold in excess of four linear miles of records. We also hold in the region of 8,000 3-D objects and the Local Studies Reference and Master Collections that were previously held at Morpeth Library. All of our holdings are kept in secure environmentally controlled strongrooms to ensure their long term preservation.

Our collections are available to view in our public searchrooms unless they are subject to statutory closure periods or restrictions imposed by the owners. Trained staff are on hand within the searchrooms to advise users. Catalogues and indexes are available to consult within the searchrooms and details of many of our collections are available to consult via our electronic catalogue.

Our Archive holdings are split between two offices – Woodhorn and the Berwick-upon-Tweed Record Office. The latter holds records relating to the geographical area held by Berwick-upon-Tweed Borough Council which extends from Berwick, south to Ellingham and across to the Cheviots. Records relating to the remainder of the present County of Northumberland are held at Woodhorn.

Many of our most well-used records, particularly those sources used by family historians are available to view on microfilm only. We do not operate a booking system at Woodhorn. However, if you wish to view microfilm copies of records at our Berwick-upon-Tweed office it is essential that you reserve a microfilm reader in advance of your visit.

Users of our Woodhorn service must register prior to using The Study Centre. Registration must be done in person at the Woodhorn Welcome Desk where a Woodhorn Card will be issued. Access to the full services at the Study Centre is not possible without a Woodhorn Card. On your first visit to Woodhorn you must bring identification. For full details of the registration scheme click here.

For researchers unable to visit the offices personally we offer a Postal Research Service. Please contact either office or click here for further details. Photocopies, digital images or prints of archives can be obtained from both offices provided that copyright and other relevant guidelines are observed. Fragile documents cannot be copied.