Established in 1948, the aims of Berkshire Record Office are to collect and preserve records referring to the Royal County of Berkshire, and to make them freely accessible to everyone.
The Office stores materials in environmentally-controlled strongrooms to ensure their availability to present and future generations so that the county's history may be preserved.
The Office encourages people to visit so that visitors can experience the enjoyment of researching their relatives' records.
Resources held by the Office cover almost nine hundred years of history, and include records from public authorities.
These resources include parish registers, census returns, electoral registers, poll books, wills and probate 1480-1857, quarter sessions, postcards, photographs and newspapers and are held on many different types of medium.
Whether you are researching the history of a house, tracing your family history, conducting research for a school, college or university assignment, or studying the history of your local area, you will find the documents held useful.
The knowledgeable and helpful staff are always on hand to help should you not know which resource would best help you further your research.
For information regarding their collections, please visit their Home Page and peruse the online catalogue. The catalogue does not currently include all their collections, but they are constantly adding to it. You are able to find the document references of the resources you need to access by using the catalogue.
You can also peruse a parish register guide which has details of Church of England parish registers held.
Opening hours can be found by going to their planning a visit page.
It is prudent to book before visiting, and to ensure the sources you require are held by the Office in order to avoid disappointment when you arrive, especially if you live some distance away. When contacting the Office, you are also able to order any documents you will need to access, and tell them of any special requirements you may have.
If coming to the Office by car, you should leave the M4 at Junction 11, and follow the A33 towards Reading Town Centre. You should then join the A4, which is the slip road heading towards Newbury. Continue up this road, and then turn left into Berkeley Avenue, then right into Coley Avenue. The Office is up the road on the right. There are 20 spaces available for parking behind the building, which includes disabled spaces. Parking in nearby streets is mostly restricted to permit holders only.
Reading has two railway stations - Reading station serves the main line from London Paddington, whilst Reading West serves Newbury. If coming from Reading station you should leave via the main exit, walking along Station Road and Queen Victoria Street. You then walk into Broad Street, and then into Chain Street. You should then walk across St Mary's Churchyard to reach Gun Street, and then walk up Castle Street. You should then continue up Castle Hill, until you reach Coley Avenue on your left. This walk takes approximately 20 minutes.
If coming from Reading West, you should walk up Tilehurst Road, and then cross over Castle Hill into Coley Avenue. This walk takes approximately 20 minutes.
Bus 26 from Reading bus station serves the Archive. It is best to ask for Russell Street - the stop is after the traffic lights on Castle Hill. From there go over Coley Avenue, turning immediately left into the Office.
You may use a digital camera, but some documents are not able to be photographed because they are delicate and can be easily damaged. A charge is made to people wishing to take advantage of this service.
Snacks are available for purchase in the reception area and a drinks machine is also provided. Town centre pubs and restaurants are approximately 5-10 minutes' walk away and there is a shop at the Petrol Station which is about 2 minutes walk away.
The building is fully accessible, with all public rooms being on the ground floor. A disabled toilet is also accessible.
If you are unable to visit in person, a Research Service is offered. The services provided only apply to material held at the Archive.
Berkshire Archives is a member of the CARN (County Archive Research Network)