Greater Manchester County Record Office

Art Gallery, ManchesterTram outside the Art Gallery, Manchester c. 1900-1909

Greater Manchester County Record Office was opened in 1976, moving to its current address in 1983.   

They collect and preserve a wide range of historical resources relating to the history of the area, which they then make accessible to the public.  

Covering nearly 4 miles of shelving, the earliest document in their possession dates from 1197.  These archives include documents, manuscripts, maps and photographs.

They are heavily involved in the preservation of documents, and have a fully equipped conservation department where repair work of these documents can take place.

Whether you wish to research your family history, conduct research for a school, college or university assignment, trace the history of a house or 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 Greater Manchester County Record Office


Greater Manchester County Record Office
Central Library
St Peters Square
City Centre
M2 5PD

Telephone Number:

0161 234 1983 (Archives)
0161 234 1979 (Special Collections)



For information regarding their collections, please visit their Home Page and peruse their online catalogue.  These resources are held on several different medium.  A large collection of books relating to Manchester is available in the Library.

Resources relating to family history held at the Office include:

  • Birth, marriages and death indexes
  • Census Returns
  • Church and chapel registers
  • Electoral Registers
  • Estate Papers
  • Grave and cemetery records
  • Immigration records and passenger lists
  • Jewish Records
  • Maps
  • Parish Registers
  • Rate books
  • Wills and probate records

Newspapers held in the Office include:

  • Manchester Guardian 1821-2000
  • Manchester Observer 1791-2000
  • Manchester Evening News 2001-present
  • Times Digital Archive

Some newspapers are available through the British Newspaper Archive, which is accessible in the Office:

  • Manchester Courier 1825-1916
  • Manchester Evening News 1870-1871, 1914-1917, 1939-1945
  • Manchester Mercury 1752-1830
  • Manchester Times 1828-1900

The local image collection contains approximately 80000 images, this being a unique way of seeing how the city has changed over time.  You are able to purchase high quality prints from the Archive.

The Documentary Photographic Archive documents life in the Greater Manchester area and can be searched through their online catalogue.  To find these images in the catalogue, you should enter DPA in the reference field and then your search term.  Some of these images can be viewed on Flickr.

Opening Hours

For details of the Office's Opening Hours, please go to their Opening Hours page.

Location and Directions

Several car parks are nearby.  If you are only staying for a short time, you can park for up to 2 hours in an on-street parking bay.  Seven blue badge parking bays are accessible in Mount Street, to the rear of the Library.

The Office is 10 minutes walk from Victoria Station and 20 minutes walk from Piccadilly Station.

Buses from central Manchester stop nearby, with the Shudehill stop on the tram being near the Archive.


You are required to give one working days notice in order to visit the searchroom.

Photography and Photocopying

Although Manchester Archives and Local Studies offers a copying service, some documents are not able to be copied because they are fragile and easily damaged.  

You are able to take your own photographs of certain documents, but the Office makes a charge to people wishing to take advantage of this service, and the same restrictions regarding the fragility of documents applies.


Refreshments are available in the cafe, located on the ground floor of the library.


Several services are available in the library for the visually impaired, which include computers with Supernova software and extending time when using the computers.  It is also possible to magnify an on-screen image.  For further details of services provided, please contact a member of Library staff, who will be pleased to assist you.

Research Service

If you are unable to visit in person, Manchester Archives offers a research service.  In addition they also give details of local researchers.  For a fee, these agents are willing to undertake research on your behalf.

Readers' Tickets

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

For details of other Record Offices in Lancashire, please visit my pages regarding Barrow Archive and Local Studies Centre and Lancashire Record Office.

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