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Visiting the Archives & Library

Visiting the Archives & Library




How to find us

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

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 865287. 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 dates:

  • Friday 7 April 2017 – Monday 24 April 2017
  • Thursday 18 May 2017 – closing at 12:00
  • Tuesday 6 June 2017
  • Friday 11 August 2017 – Monday 28 August 2017

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 CARN readers’ ticket. These tickets are accepted in record offices across the country. If you do not have one, we can issue one when you visit: please supply a passport-sized photograph, and bring with you some forms of identification which prove your address and show your signature (e.g. driving licence). Click here for more information on CARN tickets

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. 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 its collecting 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

Church building history

Useful site relating to Kent and Canterbury

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 and Local Studies Centre

The National Archives

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

Here’s History Kent – a resource on the history of Kent and its towns and villages.

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

For useful guides about the house history try:

The National Archives


`Trace my house`

Canterbury Probate Records (1396-1858) Database

General Register Office guidelines

The FreeBMD Project – Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales.

Kent Archaeological Society – Monumental inscriptions for Kent parishes

Forces War Records

The Kent Family History Society

The Kent Family History Society, Canterbury Branch

image of the Cathedral
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