The Cottonian Research Room

The Cottonian Research Room

This multi-purpose space offers a dedicated research area for you to access our collections and also has highlights from our historically important Cottonian Collection of fine art on display.

The research space

Whether you're tracing your family history, working on a school project or researching a PhD thesis, we can make our collections available to you by appointment. There is no charge for this service, however we welcome donations in support of our work.

Our research space is available on:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday: 10am-1pm and 1.30pm–4.30pm
  • Thursday, Friday and selected Saturdays: 1.30pm–4.30pm

We look forward to welcoming you.

Making an appointment

It's really easy to book some time in our research room. Use the links below to help you. If you've got queries, we've provided some Frequently Asked Questions which we hope will help you.

Please read these guidelines in advance of your research visit.


How many items can I order?

You can pre-order up to five items per research visit. Extra documents can be ordered in person on the day, at the discretion of the staff on duty.

Are some materials restricted?

While we do our best to make everything available, we do have some items that are restricted for reasons of ethics, safety or fragility. Access to these materials will require enhanced clearance from our curators or archivists. If your request includes restricted items we will contact you.

Where can I search for your collections online?

You can identify what you'd like to see using our online archives catalogue and collections catalogue.

Some items may not appear in our collections catalogues because they are awaiting publication clearance. If you have any queries about this, please contact us by emailing [email protected] or by phoning 01752 308880.

How do I make an appointment?

Register for an appointment by clicking 'Make a booking' in the info panel above. We also have some useful 'Handling collections guidelines' which you can read ahead of your appointment.

Can I photograph items?

Yes, you can take photographs of the items you're researching for your own personal use. Please purchase a daily, weekly or annual license in advance of your appointment. Head to our online shop and then bring your e-receipt with you on the day.

I'm not sure what I'm looking for. Is there someone I can ask for help?

Call us on 01752 308880 and we'll do our best to help.

The Cottonian Collection

On the days and times when our research space is not in use, you can view a selection of works from our historic Cottonian Collection.

Gallery hours are:

  • Thursday to Saturday: 10am-1pm
  • Sunday: 10am-5pm

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