Bath Record Office collects and preserves resources relating to the history of the City of Bath and North East Somerset covering the past 900 years and is run by Bath and North East Somerset Council. It then makes the resources publicly accessible to anyone interested in consulting them.
The Office permanently houses the Archives of the Council. Other archives held by the Office include documents, manuscripts, maps and photographs.
The collections held by the Office have been designated as a collection of Outstanding Importance, this award only being given to a few other Record Offices, thus reflecting the importance of the resources they hold.
They have a wide range of resources, so whether you are interested in discovering more about your local community, researching the history of a house, conducting research for a school, college or university assignment or conducting family history research, you will find the documents held of use.
The knowledgeable and helpful staff are always on hand to help should you have any questions or require assistance.
If you looking for an ancestor's burial place, you may find them in the Bath Burial Index, developed by Philip Bendall, which has details of monumental inscriptions from over 50 of Bath's cemeteries and graveyards.
The index uses information gathered from burial registers, burial registers indexes and surveys conducted by The Widcombe Association, The Bathwick Local History Society and the Beckford Tower Trust. Containing 260000 entries, the index dates from the 1600s.
Resources held by the Office include:
Records of Bath Freemen and Tradesmen are also available, which include:
Archives Opening Hours can be found by going to their Opening Hours page.
It is important to make an appointment before you visit because it can be occasionally closed at short notice due to limited staffing. It is also important to reserve a computer or microfiche reader.
Bath Archives is located in Bath city centre at the Guildhall. Signs are available to direct visitors to the Archive, which is in the basement. You can also ask in reception to be given directions.
Many buses stop at Bath bus station, which is a ten minute walk from the Archive. Another option is to use Lansdown Park and Ride, marked as Park and Ride North. Some parking spaces are available for blue badge holders outside the Guildhall.
You are allowed to use your own laptop in the Archive, and free WI-FI is available.
Office Staff can provide photocopies of many documents, but restrictions apply because some resources are fragile and easily damaged. Copyright law means that some records cannot be copied.
You are allowed to use your own camera in the Archive, but are required to tell Office Staff before taking any photographs. Some documents cannot be photographed because they are fragile and easily damaged and because of copyright law. If documents are privately owned, the owner may have stated that he/she does not wish these to be photographed.
No cafe is available at the Archive, but many eating establishments are within approximately three minutes' walk. Space is very limited, so you are not able to bring your own food to eat in the Archive.
The Record Office is located in the Guildhall basement, but the only access available is via stairs, so you will have to ask the Office staff to bring you documents and other records you wish to consult - you need to contact the Office in advance of your visit so that the necessary arrangements can be made.
Once at the Guildhall, the building is accessible to disabled visitors via a level-access entrance next to the steps, but you need to call the Guildhall reception staff from an intercom on the door.
A lift is available, but this cannot be used if a fire alarm occurs.
Toilet facilities are available on the ground floor.
If you are unable to visit in person, the Archive offers a research service.
The Office does not operate a Reader's Ticket system, but you are asked to sign in each time you visit.
For details of other Record Offices in Somerset, please visit my page regarding Somerset Archives and Local Studies.