Visiting Surrey History Centre

Surrey History Centre reopening

We are now pleased to welcome visitors back to Surrey History Centre for pre-booked access to our unique collections. We still need to take precautions to protect you, other visitors, and our staff, so ask you to observe all conditions of entry.

We will take precautions to protect you, other visitors, and our staff, so ask you to observe all conditions of entry. In particular, in line with government advice, face coverings must be worn by visitors to Surrey History Centre unless they are exempt. Find out if you are exempt from wearing a face covering.

You will notice a few changes: screens will be fitted to counters, floors will be marked for distancing, open access library items and catalogues will be taped off.

We will progressively increase our public services and opening hours in line with government advice. Please keep an eye on our website or follow our social media channels for the latest updates and news.

Book your session

Booking is now open for three-hour sessions to use our Heather D Hawker searchroom. Please book your session(s) by emailing or telephoning 01483 518737 at least two working days before you plan to visit.

Access is limited to 6 visitors per session, and (from week commencing 7 June) there are two sessions per day, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The session times are:

  • Morning session: 9.45 am to 12.45 pm
  • Afternoon session: 1.45 pm to 4.45 pm

Visitors can book one or both sessions per day.

Bookings are not transferable. Visitors who cannot attend a booking will need to contact us by email or telephone as soon as possible and re-book a subsequent session.

We will keep a secure record of your visit which may be shared with the NHS test and trace service if necessary, for example if a visitor on the same day as you tests positive. We are doing this to help reduce the risk of a local outbreak of coronavirus and in line with government guidance, as we want to do everything we can to protect our staff, visitors and the wider community.

Order collection items before your visit

We strongly advise you to order any original documents at least 24 hours in advance of your visit. Although there will be limited production and copying services on the day, processing of requests may take longer.

Please use our online catalogue to identify what you need to see or contact us if you need any help. No additional archive items can be ordered on the day itself. Library items in the locked cabinets and open access shelves, including maps, must be requested from staff on duty.

Pre-booked access to microfilm and fiche readers and public library computers in the searchroom is now available.

Your visit

  • Please bring your Surrey Libraries Card, CARN ticket or Archives Card with you. If this is your first visit we can issue you a day pass on production of proof of ID and place of residence.
  • Please bring your own pencil, notepaper or laptop with you.
  • Staff will be on hand as usual in our foyer and searchroom to provide help and advice.
  • You will be given an allocated desk.
  • You will have access via your laptop or smartphone to our free Wi-Fi to use to search the Collections Catalogue.
  • No photocopying facilities will available on the day, but along with any digital copying requests, they will be processed after the documents you have seen have been quarantined for a short period.
  • Photo permits will be available for purchase as usual if you wish to take your own photographs but the camera stands in our searchroom will not be available for use.

When visiting for your booked session

  • In line with government advice, face coverings must be worn by visitors to Surrey History Centre from 8 August 2020 unless you are exempt.
  • Please use the hand sanitiser available, use our cloakroom, wash your hands and register with foyer staff.
  • Please stay home if you're unwell - visitors exhibiting symptoms of illness will be refused entry.
  • Visitors are asked to comply with health and hygiene measures including physical distancing and using the hand sanitiser provided. On entering the searchroom you will be asked to wash your hands with soap and water.
  • You may use the drinks vending machine in the public refreshment room which will be open on a one-in, one-out basis with hand sanitiser available for use on entering the room.
  • An announcement will be made 15 minutes prior to each session ending to allow you to gather your belongings and leave the building.
  • Toilet facilities will be open but on a 'one-in-one-out' basis. More frequent cleaning is planned during these special arrangements.

Please read our frequently asked questions for more information about reopening the History Centre and your visit.

We're still open online

Files available to download