Birmingham Archives and Heritage Service

Birmingham in 1886: H W Brewer.  From 'The Graphic', 1886Birmingham in 1886: H W Brewer. From 'The Graphic', 1886

Birmingham Archives and Heritage Service houses resources relating to the history of Birmingham and its people, its business and societies, these dating from the 12th Century to the present day.

Resources are held in environmentally-controlled strongrooms and include documents, manuscripts, maps, newspapers and photographs.

Two main services can be accessed by visitors to Birmingham Library.  One is the Heritage Research Area, which contains local and family history, genealogy, maps and newspapers. 

The other area, the Wolfson for Archival Research, contains archival collections, photographs and early printed materials.

Whether you want to investigate the history of a house, conduct research for a school, college or university assignment, discover more about your local community or conduct family history research, you will find the documents held of use.

The knowledgeable and helpful staff are always on hand to offer advice and assistance if required.

Contact Information for Birmingham Archives and Heritage Service


Birmingham Archives and Heritage Service 
Library of Birmingham
Centenary Square
Broad Street
B1 2ND

Telephone Number:

0121 2424242



For further information regarding their collections, please visit their collections page, from where it is possible to download the guide to Archive Collections in Birmingham Archives and an A-Z Guide of Archives Collections.  

You can also peruse their online catalogue.  These collections include:

  • Anglican parish registers
  • Birmingham City Council records
  • Business and trade records
  • Coroners' Inquests
  • Court records - Birmingham quarter sessions(1838-) and magistrates' courts/petty sessions(1900-)
  • Electoral Registers
  • Estate, family and personal records
  • GRO Indexes of Births, Marriages and Deaaths
  • Hospital records
  • Maps
  • Nonconformist registers
  • School and children's homes records
  • Poor Law Union records
  • Wills

Maps held by the Archive include:

  • Geological Maps
  • Goad Fire Insurance Maps
  • Goad Shopping Maps
  • Ordnance Survey Maps
  • Piggott Smith Survey Maps 1850-1855
  • Parish Maps
  • Six Inch County Maps
  • Tithe Maps
  • Town Maps
  • Transport Maps and Plans

There is restricted access to some documents.

They have two different areas - if you would like to peruse local and family history, maps and newspapers, please use the Heritage Researech Area or the Wolfson Centre for Archival Research if you would like to look at their archival collections, photographs and early printed materials.

Location and Directions

The Library is approximately 10-15 minutes' walk from New Street Station and 15-20 minutes' walk from Snow Hill Station.

If you are travelling by bus, buses 1, 9, 10, 22, 23, 24, 29, 29A, 120, 126, 127, 128, 129, 140 and 141 stop near to the Library.

No public parking is accessible at the Library, the nearest car parks being in Cambridge Street and the NIA.  Two disabled spaces are located behind the Library in Cambridge Street.

Opening Hours

For details of the Archives and Collections opening hours, please visit their Opening Hours page.

Booking Requirements

You are required to book 3 or 4 days before visiting the Wolfson Centre (Archives Search Room), and it is also best to tell them what resources you wish to access at the time of booking in order to avoid disappointment when you arrive, especially if you have travelled a long distance.


The Wolfson Centre is on the 4th level of the Library of Birmingham.  It is accessible via stairs, lifts or escalators, and is fully accessible once inside.  A disabled toilet is situated outside the Wolfson Centre.  

They also have a hearing loop for people who have auditory problems.  

Some computers have been specially adapted for the visually impaired, and all computers have the facility to enlarge an image if required.


You are allowed to take photographs of documents, but a charge is made to people taking advantage of this service.  Some documents are not able to be photographed because they are fragile and easily damaged.  A photography form must also be filled in to show the user agrees to the Archives' terms of use of images.

Eating Facilities

A cafe is available in the Library of Birmingham on the ground floor, where eat-in and take-away food is available.  They serve hot soup, jacket potatoes, freshly-made delis and tray bakes and scones.  If the seating area is full, extra seating is available on the mezzanine level.

If you do not wish to eat in the cafe, you are welcome to eat your own food, but these should only be consumed in the lounge areas.  Cold drinks and snacks are also available in these areas.

Research Service

If you unable to visit in person, the Archive offers a research service, for which a fee is charged.

Twitter and Facebook Accounts

Birmingham Archives has a Twitter Account at @TheIronRoom, which they use to provide information about the Archive.

They also have a Facebook page under Birmingham Archives and Collections, where they post information about events held at the Archive, and respond to visitors' enquiries.

Readers' Tickets

The Archive is a member of the CARN (County Archive Research Network).

For further details of Record Offices in Warwickshire, please visit my page regarding Warwickshire Record Office.

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