The National Archives’ reading rooms are temporarily closed
The National Archives is home to millions of historical documents covering a huge range of subjects, including more than 70,000 images, from ancient maps to iconic advertising. The building houses records which have been created and collected by UK central government departments such as the Home Office and the Foreign Office, and major courts of law such as the Central Criminal Court. The National Archive is a unique resource for those interested in the history of the United Kingdom.
There are certain records, such as birth, marriage and death certificates, that they do not hold. You will not find army service records after 1923, wills after 1858, Parish records, legal proof of divorces later than 1858, adoption records or certificates of naturalisation after 1 October 1986. Follow this link to see where they suggest to look for those records.
How to use the archive
To see what they do have, you can use their A-Z index or use their subject guides for: Family History / First World War / Seconld World War / Military and Maritime history / Social and Cultural history / Criminals, Courts and Prisons / Political and Economic history / Foreign and Colonial history / Land and Maps / Mediaeval and early modern history / Records for current legal purposes.
Follow this link to see their research guides.
The Research & Enquiry Room has an excellent library holding books on many subjects and the bookshop sells books on all subjects, including many on the World Wars.
Programme of events
The National Archives are currently hosting an excellent programme of online talks and webinars that are free for everyone and delivered by their experts, specialists and guests.
Check their website for details.