Wiltshire Record Office holds documents relating to Wiltshire, these resources dating from the 12th century to the present day. Work began on Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre on 28th June 2005 because the Record Office's former home in Trowbridge was deemed to be unsuitable to house important documents and archives.
Work was finally completed in Autumn 2006, with the different parts of the heritage service moving in from February to October 2007, and then opened to the public on 31st October 2007.
The office holds records on many different medium, so whether you are tracing your family history, researching the history of a house or want to discover more about your local area, you will find the documents held of use.
Collections held by the Office include:
Collections also incorporate:
The Office holds a vast number of materials relating to the county, which is known as the Wiltshire Studies Library, and contains 25000 books, 40000 photographs, newspapers dating from 1738 and census returns. General information about Local and British History and related resources are also available.
These collections can be accessed in the search room at the History Centre, but please bear in mind that some items in these collections are held in the Office's strongroom so will need to be requested from the Help Desk team.
As part of the Wiltshire Wills Project, 105000 wills dating from 1540 to 1858 held in the Office have been digitised by the Office in partnership with Ancestry. They will be available on Ancestry from December 2017.
Opening times can be found on their opening hours page.
The Office is approximately 10 minutes walk from Chippenham railway station. A taxi rank is available on the left, and a bus stop on the right. Head along Cocklebury Road, and follow this road until you reach the History Centre, which is situated 50 metres after the road bends to the right.
The easiest way to reach the History Centre if travelling by bus is to catch a bus to Chippenham railway station and then follow the directions from there as noted above.
A large 60 space car park is available next to Wiltshire Records Office, but should this become full, pay and display car parks are available at the Olympiad leisure centre or the railway station. These are both to be found in Cocklebury Road about 550 metres from the Record Office.
You do not have to book to visit, but you are advised to notify the archives in advance of your visit so they can appreciate your needs.
If it is likely you are going to use a microform viewer, booking a unit in advance is required. You may book the machine for four hours.
If you wish to visit the Archive on a Saturday, you are asked to order documents before 1pm on that day because fewer staff are on duty on a Saturday afternoon. If you order documents after this time, the Office cannot guarantee they will be produced that day.
The Office staff will advise you how to handle documents correctly on your first visit to the Archive.
You are able to use your own camera in the Office, but you must purchase a photography permit before taking any photographs. Some documents cannot be photographed because of copyright laws and/or because they are fragile and can be damaged easily.
The Office is fully accessible to those in wheelchairs, with all search rooms locate on the ground floor. They also have height adjustable tables and chairs. Disabled toilet facilities and accessible lockers are also available.
Hearing loops are available at all of their help desks.
The Office also provides reading aids for those who are visually impaired.
A meeting room, situated on the ground floor, is available for hire.
A refreshment area is provided in the Office, where you are free to eat your own food. Vending machines are also accessible in this area. Picnic benches are available outside the Office for use by visitors.
Should you not wish to bring your own food, you can go to the cafe in the railway station or eat in the restaurant situated in Wiltshire Council's Monkton Park Offices, which are both within walking distance of Wiltshire History Centre. A sandwich van calls at lunchtimes during the week, which offers sandwiches, salads, hot food, beverages and confectionery.
You can also eat in any of the eating establishments located in Chippenham town centre.
Outreach activities to a wide range of organisations are also undertaken, one of which is supporting adults with learning difficulties. 100 volunteers help out at the Office every year, which include some with disabilities.
If you cannot visit in person, they offer a research service. For more information regarding this service, or to discuss your needs, please contact them.
Witshire History Centre is a member of the CARN (County Archive Research Network)