Archives and Discovery Centre

Barnsley Archives and Local Studies collects, preserves and makes available the documentary heritage of the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley. Contained in secure and environmentally-controlled stores are thousands of boxes of archives donated by individuals, families and organisations, charting the history of the borough from the 12th to 21st centuries.

Dig deep and make your own history in the Discovery Centre. Explore hundreds of years of intriguing documents, photographs, maps and films. Shelves and shelves of fascinating books to browse means there’s something for everyone.

We can help you start growing your family tree. Discover the history of your area. Need to find something out about Barnsley now? This is the place to do it.

Have fun exploring these fascinating collections and uncovering your local heritage!

Visiting the Discovery Centre

On your first visit, we ask you to register as a user and follow some simple guidelines in order to explore the many records we look after. This is to help us keep the unique documents secure and safe. We ask that you bring along two forms of identification which include your name and address: a driving licence, passport, council tax or other bill, for example. We also advise you to give us advance notice of your visit if you want to see original material because the Discovery Centre can get very busy, especially during holiday periods. Not all our archives are held on site, so we always advise contacting us in advance to ensure that we have what you need.

Can I get copies?

We offer a comprehensive copying service, with copies of documents being supplied in either hard copy or digitally. Due to copyright restrictions, we are unable to supply copies of all documents we hold. Other documents cannot be copied because of their condition. Consult staff for further details and to discuss your requirements.


Important information (updated 25/09/2020): we are pleased to announce that we reopened on Monday 14 September.

Days are limited to Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 10am and 12 noon and 2pm until 4pm.

Places are also limited, and customers are required to book either a morning or afternoon session in advance by emailing New safety measures are in place and visitors can expect to see one-way systems, additional cleaning and the need to pre-order their archive documents. Face masks also need to be used during your visit as stated in government guidelines, unless you have an exemption. Test and Trace procedures are in place in the building as you enter and visitors will be asked to use the new NHS COVID-19 app (if you have a compatible mobile phone) and scan the venue QR code in reception.

There will initially be no access to microform resources or browsing of the local studies library. We will try to offer a digital alternative for those who cannot yet visit us in person.

T: 01226 773950 (available Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during opening hours)



Twitter @BarnsArchives


Online Catalogue

Our online catalogue is now available! To search our fascinating historical collections please visit