Site facilities and accessibility

We offer reading aids to people who are partially sighted for use in the reading rooms. We do not hold Braille versions of the records. Individuals with little or no sight are advised to bring an assistant who can read or take photographs of documents.

The following accessible research facilities are available in the reading rooms:

Magnifying equipment

We recommend a range of magnifying equipment for use in our reading rooms:

  • magnifying glasses – of which there is only a limited number available in the reading rooms, so we recommend that you bring your own
  • sheet magnifiers – we sell these in our bookshop on the ground floor
  • electronic document magnifiers – these link to screens using CCTV-type technology, which enlarges the text. They can’t be used to read original documents but can be used with books, publications and indexes
  • ultra-violet (UV) lamps – may be used for a limited time to read faint writing – ask staff for help. The lamps are located in the Map and Large Document Reading Room, but you can arrange to use them on the first floor. UV lamps must be signed out to readers due to health and safety regulations
  • magnification and reading software – some PCs in the Research and Enquiries Room have ZoomText software installed to enlarge on-screen text and images. Ask a member of staff which PCs have the software and how to use it
  • microfilm and microfiche readers – these can magnify up to 40x and have focus controls

Accessible PCs

Accessible PCs, with a large mouse and keyboard, are available in the Start here area on the first floor. Please ask a member of staff where they are located.

Sign language

We have members of staff who can sign. Please note that they may not be available at all times.

Our website has a wide selection of podcast talks, a variety of which have British Sign Language video versions available.

Headphones

Some of the PCs in the Start here area on the first floor have headphone sockets. Headphones are available at the Start here desk.

Toilets

There are wheelchair accessible toilets on all floors of The National Archives. They are located in the following areas:

  • Ground floor – near the welcome desk, opposite the Security Control Room
  • First floor – by the lift outside the Research and Enquiries Room, and near the library area in the Research and Enquiries Room
  • Second floor – by the lift outside the Map and Large Document Reading Room

Restaurant

Tables and chairs in the restaurant are movable. The television screen in the restaurant shows subtitled news.

Keeper’s Gallery

The Keeper’s Gallery is spacious and the interactive screens are set at a low level. However, for reasons of preservation, lighting levels are low.

Induction loop system

The National Archives has induction loop systems at most enquiry desks, and in the Talks Room. Please contact us for further information.