New records are usually unavailable to the general public because of the time restrictions on them. It can take anywhere between two and 100 years for a document to be made available to the public, although for most, the time limit is usually 20 years.
The length of restriction time on a document often depends on the level of sensitivity. So, a record containing sensitive information, like transport security, for example, is likely to have a restriction of 100 years. Such a limit ensures that records with commercial confidentiality agreements are not seen by the public.
For some highly sensitive records, Data Protection and Freedom of Information Act restrictions may still apply even though their time limit has ended.
Our archives are kept in an off-site storage facility in Cheshire, so we order your requests once a week. If you'd like to order material the process usually goes like this:
If you need to make copies of documents in our archive, please be aware that:
We are happy to take on small amounts of research for users who can't visit us in person. This is restricted to a maximum of two hours per enquiry: this two-hour slot also includes searching catalogues and ordering documents. If you, or an archive researcher, feels that the request will take longer than planned, we recommend looking for professional researchers on The Association of Genealogists and Researchers or The National Archives List of Independent Researchers.