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Visiting the Archives & Library

Visiting the Archives & Library

Because of the current public health emergency, the Archives and Library reading room is closed until further notice.




How to find us

Click map to enlarge

The Archives and Library of Canterbury Cathedral welcome all researchers with interests in our collections.

Access to the collections of the Archives and Library is provided according to our Access Policy.

Opening hours

The reading room for the Archives and Library is equipped with computers for public access and WIFI is available. Visitors can use microfilm and microfiche viewing equipment and there is a self-service reader-printer for making copies from microfilms. The reading room is open by appointment by contacting or telephone 01227 865330. Bookings can be made for a reading desk, a computer, or a microfilm/fiche reader.

The opening hours are as follows:

  • Tuesday – Thursday: 09.15 hrs to 16.45 hrs
  • Mondays and Fridays: open for pre-booked group visits
  • Saturdays – 1st Saturday of every month: 09.15 – 12.45 hrs

For Saturday openings all documents and books must be ordered in advance.

Lunchtime closure may occasionally be necessary and the Archives reading room will be closed on the following days:

  • Saturday 4th April 2020 – Friday 17th April 2020
  • Thursday 23rd July 2020
  • Monday 17th August 2020 – Monday 31st August 2020
  • Monday 2nd November 2020 – Friday 6th November 2020
  • Monday 21st December 2020 – Monday 4th January 2021

Group Visits

Depending on staff availability, group visits may be arranged through the Visits Office. Preferred days are Monday and Fridays when the Archives and Library are closed to the public. Visits will be tailored to the interests of the group.

Readers tickets

Researchers are required to register for a reader’s ticket which we can issue when you visit. Please bring with you some form of photo ID and a document which proves your address.

Examples of acceptable documents:

Photo ID

  • Driving Licence
  • Passport
  • International Student Identity Card
  • Older Person’s Bus Pass

Proof of address

  • Driving Licence
  • Utility Bill
  • Council Tax Bill
  • Bank Statement

For the Cathedral’s Privacy Notice, please click here.

Family History Advice

During our Saturday opening (first Saturday of the month, 9.15 to 12.45), a member of the Canterbury Branch of the Kent Family History Society will be on hand to provide advice on family history research. S/he will be happy to discuss getting started on family history and new avenues of research. Sessions run 09:15-10:15, 10:30-11:30, and 11:45-12:45 – please contact us to reserve a place.

For more information about the branch, and useful information about family history research in the Canterbury area, see

Copying services

We offer a range of reprographic services: please see our price list.
We also offer self-service photography in our reading room: please see the permit application form for further information.

Permission to publish

Those wishing to publish images from our collections should complete our permission to publish form.


The Archives will respond to routine enquiries about its collections. We aim to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days. For commissioning genealogical research and other detailed research on our collections, please see our Independent Researchers list.

Information for depositors

The Cathedral Archives collects according to the Cathedral’s Collection Development policy. Material can be accepted as a gift, loan (deposit) or bequest. See here for our gift and loan agreements. Please contact us to arrange the delivery of new material.


Useful links

Lambeth Palace Library where the papers of the Archbishops of Canterbury are held. See also for useful research guides.

Kent History and Library Centre for the County Council’s archive centre.

Medway Archives Centre

The National Archives

Special Collections and Archives at the University of Kent where the papers of Dean Hewlett Johnson, and other archive collections are held.

Findmypast – a leading family history website, which includes parish registers from the Cathedral Archives

Canterbury Probate Records (1396-1858) Database

Kent Archaeological Society – Monumental inscriptions for Kent parishes

The Kent Family History Society, Canterbury Branch

Canterbury Historical and Archaeological Society

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