Portsmouth History Centre is situated on the second floor of Portsmouth Central Library. Records include resources regarding family, local and naval history, Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens collections and official records of Portsmouth City Council dating from the 14th century.
Resources also include parish registers dating from the 16th century and materials deposited by local businesses, families and other organisations. They also have maps and plans, photographs and picture postcards.
Whether you are tracing your family history, researching the history of your local area, studying the history of a house, or conducting research for a school, college, or university assignment, you will find the documents held of use. The knowledgeable and helpful staff are always on hand to help should you have any questions or require assistance.
For details of their opening hours and their collections, please visit the appropriate sections of their Home Page and discover more about their resources. Parish records for the Diocese of Portsmouth are accessible on microfiche along with cemetery burial indexes. Other collections available in the Office include:
Business records held by the Office include Chilcot and Williams Ltd, British Gas (Southern), Portsmouth Floating Bridge Company, Portsmouth Water Company and Whitbreads including Brickwoods, Pike Spicer and Co, Portsmouth and Brighton United Breweries.
Many books and other items are available in their local history collection, which include:
Some of these resources relate to the Isle of Wight, Hampshire and West Sussex.
Many documents are stored off-site so must be ordered in advance and take up to 5 working days to be delivered to the Archive. If the document you wish to consult is available in the Office, you do not need to give advance notice to consult it. Some documents are not publicly accessible because of data protection laws or because they are fragile.
It is prudent to book a microfilm reader or genealogy computer before visiting in order to avoid disappointment, especially if you have travelled some distance.
You are allowed to take photographs of certain documents, but you must ask the permission of the staff before taking a photograph because some documents are not able to be photographed because they are fragile and easily damaged. You are also required to obtain a photography permit, for which a charge is made.
The building is fully accessible, with a lift allowing access to the second floor. Disabled toilets are also available.
A cafe is located on the third floor of the library and serves light lunches, snacks and homemade cakes. Cold drinks, tea and coffee are also available.
If you are unable to visit in person, the Office offers a research service, in which, for a fee, they conduct research on your behalf.
Portsmouth Archives is a member of the CARN (County Archive Research Network).