Essex Record Office

Essex Record Office was established in 1938 and collects and preserves documents, images, maps and audio recordings relating to Essex, covering one thousand years of history.  

The Office is one of the largest Archives in England, with their resources covering nearly 8 miles of shelving.

These resources include Census Returns, Electoral Registers, Family Papers, Maps, Newspapers, Parish Registers, Photographs, Quarter Sessions and Wills.

Whether you are researching your family history, conducting research for a school, college or university assignment, studying the history of a house, or want to discover more about your local area, 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.

Contact Information for Essex Record Office


Essex Record Office 
Wharf Road 

Telephone Number:

03330 132500



For information regarding their collections, please visit their Home Page. The Archive also has an on-line catalogue. The catalogue contains details about every item held, but does not include the full text of the actual documents.  

Historical documents held are mostly written, but they also hold some later resources containing audio and visual materials.

A Sound and Video Archive is also available in Essex Records Office, which is a collection of sound recordings and videos covering aspects of Essex life.  You are able to listen to these recordings in the Archive's playback room.  Although you have to make a prior arrangement, you can also listen to these recordings in Archive Access Points in Saffron Walden and Harrow.

If you would like to obtain a copy of a recording, this can also be arranged, but you must obtain permission from the owner and/or copyright holder.

Opening Hours

Opening Hours can be found by going to their opening hours page.

Location and Directions

The Archive is 20 minutes walk from Duke Street, where the railway station and bus station is located.  Bus stops are also situated at the southern end of Springfield Road and on Parkway, which are a short distance away.  

There are spaces available for blue badge holders close to the Office's public entrance, but these are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis; they cannot be reserved in advance. Some public car parks are close to the Office, which include:

  • Baddow Road (Long and Short Stay: 344 Spaces)(CM2 7PJ)
  • Meadows Retail(Multi-storey, Short Stay: 391 Spaces)(CM2 6LU)
  • Q-Park Meadows(Multi-storey, long and short stay: 454 Spaces)(CM2 0DG)
  • Meadows Surface(Short Stay: 250 Spaces)(CM2 0WP)

Park and Ride services are also available from Sandon(East) and Chelmer Valley(North).


Although appointments are not necessary to visit Essex Records Office, it is advisable to contact them before you visit if you want to look at specific documents to make sure they are accessible in order to avoid disappointment, which is especially important for people living some distance from the Archive.  

Ordering Documents

You may only look at one document at a time, but you can order up to five documents at once. The document is weighed before being issued, it then being weighed again to ensure it has been returned complete.  Whilst it is in your possession, you have to give in your CARN ticket and return it to the Document Issue Desk if you leave the Searchroom for any reason.


You are able to use a digital camera, but strict conditions apply to this. Not all documents may be photographed because they are fragile and easily damaged.


A lift is also available to take visitors up to the Searchroom, which is located on the first floor.  The lift tells you when the doors are closing and when you have arrived at your destination.

Disabled toilets are available near reception on the ground floor and inside the Search-room.

Hearing induction loops are installed at main reception and at the Searchroom counter.

Magnifying glasses are provided in the Search-room, and a computer benefits from a larger monitor and has been fitted with a larger tracker ball.

If you have additional requirements, you are advised to contact the Archive in advance of your visit.

Research Service

A research service is offered for anyone unable to visit in person.  You have to check the SEAX database to determine whether the documents you wish to be consulted are held by the Archives.

Twitter and Facebook Accounts

The Archive has a Twitter Account, @essexarchive, where they provide details of their collections, any special events, and any family history or local history related news.

The Office also has a Facebook page, @EssexRecordOffice, where they provide details about the Office and answer people's queries.

Readers' Tickets

Essex Record Office is a member of the CARN (County Archive Research Network) 

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