Medway Archives Centre

The Medway, Chatham. c. 1890-1900The Medway, Chatham. c. 1890-1900. Photocrom Print Collection

Medway Archives Centre collects and preserves documents and records relating to the geography, people and history of Medway.  They then make these documents accessible to the public.

The resources cover Rochester, Strood, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham and surrounding villages, which includes the Isle of Grain.  

These resources include documents, manuscripts, maps and photographs.  They have an extensive collection of images related to Medway.  

The Archive preserves and makes the Archives of the Medway area and parish records of North-West Kent publicly accessible, with their oldest records dating from 604.

Whatever your research interest, whether you are researching your family history, conducting research for a school, college or university assignment, tracing the history of a house, or wish to learn 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 Medway Archives Centre


Medway Archives Centre
32 Bryant Road

Telephone Number:

01634 332714 



For information regarding their collections, please visit their Collections page.  Some records are accessible from this page, which include:

  • Account of the Battle of Trafalgar by Robert Sands, Boy Third Class
  • Army officer's notebook, Chatham Lines 1761-1777
  • Film Clips of Medway and Kent
  • Licensing Records of the North Aylesford Petty Sessional Division 1869-1937
  • Map of Whorne's Place Estate, Cuxton and Halling 1670
  • Photographs of Medway
  • Port of Rochester Shipping Registers 1824-1927
  • Rochester Archdeaconry area Parish Registers
  • Smart tickets issued by the Chatham Chest, 1802 and 1805

Collections held by the Archive include:

  • Business Papers
  • Dickens Collection (Books and ephemera)
  • Electoral Registers
  • Estate Records
  • Historical Building Plans
  • Maps and Plans
  • Naval Collection (Books and emphemera)
  • Newspapers
  • Parish Records - Archdeaconry of Rochester

Collections also incorporate:

  • Periodicals
  • Photographs and Prints
  • Poll Books
  • Poor Law Records
  • Rochester Cathedral Archives
  • School and Education Records
  • Short Brothers Collection (local aviation history)
  • Street Directories
  • Trade Directories

You can also discover more about their collections by perusing their online catalogue CityArk, which is the online catalogue of Medway Council Archives Service and is held at the Record Office.

Collections also include The Fitzgerald Collection of Dickensiana, Percy Hetherington Fitzgerald's collection of works by and about Charles Dickens.

Opening Hours

For details of their opening hours, please go to their Visit the Archives page.

Location and Directions


If you wish to access archive collections, you must make an appointment.

Photography and Photocopying

You are allowed to take your own camera into the Archive, but must purchase a photography permit before taking any photographs.  There are two different prices depending on whether you will be using the images for commercial or non-commercial purposes.  Some documents cannot be photographed because they are fragile and easily damaged.

You can take photocopies of documents, but the Office makes a charge to people taking advantage on this service.  Restrictions apply because of copyright laws and the fact that some documents would not withstand being photocopied.


The Archive has two disabled parking spaces near the building and have a ramp providing access to the front doors.  All areas accessible by the public are on the ground floor, and they have fully accessible toilet facilities.  If required, there is also a height adjustable desk in the local studies search room.


Many publications and other items are available for sale, which include books, maps, postcards and prints.


If you need help with your family history research, volunteers from Kent Family History Society are on hand to help on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Research Service

If you are unable to visit in person, and need some help with your research, the Office offers a Research Service, in which they will be willing, on payment of a fee, to do some research on your behalf.

Facebook Page

The Archive has a Facebook page, @medwayarchives.  On this page they provide information regarding the Office, show images of the area, and discuss family history and local history related news.

Readers' Tickets

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

For further details regarding Record Offices in Kent, please view my pages regarding Kent Library and History Centre and Canterbury Cathedral Archives.