Suffolk Record Office

The Terrace, Lowestoft, Suffolk. c. 1890-1900.The Terrace, Lowestoft, Suffolk. c. 1890-1900. Photocrom Print Collection

Suffolk Record Office holds records and documents relating to the county of Suffolk and its people, these records dating from the 12th century. 

They also hold documents from recent periods from different associations such as churches, county councils and local authorities.  They also hold histories, poetry and newspapers.

These archives are available on many different mediums, from documents and maps to CD-ROMs.  

Whether you want to find out more about house history, trace your genealogy or discover more about a particular village, you will find a document that will be of use to you.

The documents are also useful if you are researching for a school project or completing a university degree.

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

They have establishments in Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft and Ipswich.

If you have any documents relating to the history of Suffolk you would like to donate to any of the Offices to safeguard them for future generations, they would love to hear from you.

Information about Suffolk Record Office

Bury St Edmunds


Bury St Edmunds Archives 
77 Raingate Street 
Bury St Edmunds 

IP33 2AR 

Telephone Number: 

01284 741212


Ipswich Archives


Ipswich Records Office 
Gatacre Road 

IP1 2LQ 

Telephone Number:

01473 263909


Lowestoft Archive


Lowestoft Archives
Lowestoft Library

Clapham Road South

NR32 1DR 

Telephone Number:

01502 405357


Collections in Suffolk Record Offices

For information regarding their collections, please visit their Collections page. Some collections are summarised on Heritage Directwhich is an on-line catalogue.  

Collections held by the Archives include:

  • Architects Plans
  • Business Records
  • Census Returns
  • Electoral Registers
  • Estate Papers
  • Family Records
  • Hearth Tax Records
  • Land Tax Records
  • Maps
  • Newspapers

Resources also incorporate:

  • Nonconformist Registers
  • Parish Registers
  • Petty Sessions Records
  • Photographs
  • Poor Law Records
  • Probate Records
  • Quarter Sessions Records
  • School Records
  • Suffolk Gaol Books
  • Tithe Apportionments

Suffolk Record Office - Ipswich Archive

Opening Hours and Location - Ipswich

Opening Hours at Ipswich Archives can be found by perusing the appropriate section of their website.

The Office has a large free car park, which is situated off Gatacre Road.  One parking space is available for people with disabilities.  To get to the Office, you have to go along a 30 metre tarmac walkway which is uneven in places.

Buses from Tower Ramparts bus station in Ipswich town centre stop near the Office.


A disabled toilet is accessible on the ground floor.  All the main facilities, such as the searchroom, map room, microfiche room, education room, locker room and toilets are situated on the ground floor.  A low level counter is available in the searchroom.  

If you take part in a tour of the Office, or come to an event that involves a visit to the upper strongroom, you can access the first floor via a lift.  No disabled toilets are available on this floor.

Unfortunately, the Office does not yet have a hearing loop.

If you have any further questions, or would like to discuss your access requirements, the Office staff will be happy to help you, and can make any necessary arrangements.


You are allowed to use your own camera in the Office, but are asked to purchase a photography permit before taking any photographs.  Some documents cannot be photographed because they can be easily damaged.

On payment of a fee, the staff are able to copy documents on your behalf.

Computers and Wi-Fi

You are allowed to use your own laptop in the Office, but there are a limited number of electrical sockets available.  You are asked to use a circuit breaker when using their electricity supply.

The Office does have some computers that offer access to websites such as Ancestry and FindmyPast.

Free Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the building.


You are welcome to eat your own food in the locker room situated next to the searchroom, and can purchase tea, coffee and hot chocolate from them if required.

Suffolk Record Office - Bury St Edmunds Archive

Opening Hours and Location - Bury St Edmunds Archives

Opening Hours of Bury St Edmunds Archives can be found by perusing the appropriate section of their website.

No free parking is available in Bury St Edmunds Archive, but there is a space available for a disabled reader.


Disabled access is provided via a door to the side of the building.  Disabled toilet facilities are also available.  As no lift is installed in the building, disabled readers are unable to reach the searchroom situated on the first floor.  

The Office provides facilities on the ground floor for people in this situation, where they are able to consult documents.  The staff are able to search the card indexes on your behalf.


You are able to use your own camera to take photographs of documents, but you must purchase a photographic licence before taking any photographs.  Flash must be turned off, and tripods are not allowed.  Some documents cannot be photographed because they are fragile and easily damaged.  

Computers and Wi-Fi

You are able to use your own laptop in the Office, but there are a limited number of electrical sockets.

Computers are available on both floors of the Office, and provide access to websites such as Ancestry and FindMyPast.

Wi-Fi is available throughout the building.


If you wish to eat your own food, a restroom is available.  Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits can be bought from the Office and consumed in that room.

Suffolk Record Office - Lowestoft Archive Information

Opening Hours and Location - Lowestoft 

Opening Hours for Lowestoft Archives can be found by going to the appropriate section of their website.

The Office is based on the first floor of Lowestoft Library.  No parking is available at the Library but car parks are available near the town centre.


You are allowed to take your own photographs of documents, but are required to purchase a photography permit before taking any photographs.


The Library can be accessed by using a ramp, and there is a lift to the first floor.  A disabled toilet is situated on the ground floor.  A adjustable height computer table is accessible.

A magnifying machine is available to help the visually impaired, along with a large print keyboard.

A hearing loop is also installed in the Office.

Computers and Wi-Fi

You are able to use your own laptop in the Office, but they ask that you use a surge protector if you wish to use their electricity supply.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the Office via O2.


A cafe selling refreshments is available on the ground floor of the library.  No food and drink is allowed in the Record Office itself.


It is necessary to book a microfilm/microfiche reader if you wish to consult documents on this medium, but you do not need to book to look at original documents. 

It is prudent, however, to check that the document you wish to consult is available before travelling, especially if you live some distance from the Archives.

Research Service

If you are unable to visit any Suffolk Record Office branch in person, a research service is offered, in which, for a fee, they are willing to undertake research on your behalf. For more details of the charge made for using this service please go to the Research Service charges section of their Goods and Services Price List. 

Twitter and Facebook Accounts

The Offices have a Twitter Account, @KeyToThePast, where they provide information regarding the Office and their collections, events held at the Offices, and family history and local history related news.

The Offices also have a Facebook page, @SuffolkArchives, where they provide information regarding the Offices and their collections, events held at the Offices and respond to visitors' queries.

Readers' Tickets

The Archives' do not accept Archives Cards

In order to peruse archival material or local studies books, you will have to register for a Suffolk Reader's Ticket.  

You can either register online, or can register at one of the Office's branches.  If you choose to register online, following registration you can search for documents in the Offices' catalogues so that you can pre-order them so they will be waiting for you when you arrive at the Office.

Whichever option you choose to follow, you have to provide identification to complete your registration on arrival at the branch.  Identification should confirm your name, address and signature, such as a UK driving licence.

If you do not have a UK driving licence, you may have to bring in more than one form of identification.

Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • Passport
  • Bank Card
  • Credit Card
  • National ID Card
  • Police Warrant Card
  • Forces ID Card
  • Sea/Air Masters Licence
  • Blue Badge
  • Freedom pass photo card
  • Utility bill (last 6 months)
  • Bank/Building Society statement (last 6 months)
  • Credit card statement (last 6 months)
  • Council tax bill
  • HM Revenue and Customs statement
  • National ID card with address
  • Driving Licence with address
  • Home Office permit to stay
  • University certificate for hall of residence (stamped and signed by institution)
  • Firearms licence
  • Home Insurance policy
  • International student photo card
  • Pension statement
  • Student Loans Company letter

All Suffolk Readers Tickets are valid for 3 years.

Although the Office no longer issues new CARN Cards, it will continue to honour them until their date of expiry.

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