Edinburgh City Archives

Visit the search room

Important notice: Due to Government advice and current COVID-19 restrictions, our search room will remain closed until further notice. We will respond to emails where we can, however please note that during this time access to records will be limited. We will post updates here when the situation changes.

When to visit

Tuesday to Thursday from 10am to 4.30pm.

Before you visit

Tightening security requirements in the City Chambers now means that all visitors need to let us know an arrival date and time in advance of any visit. Please note that if you do not provide a date and time you may have to wait up to 30 minutes for entry into the archives.

It can take up to a week to make some records available as a lot of our collections are held off-site. We have also introduced set retrieval times in our search room, so if you have not ordered records out in advance we will only do retrievals from our repository within the City Chambers at

  • 10.30am
  • Noon
  • 2.30pm

Some records are confidential by law and may not be seen for a certain time. Staff will let you know of these at the time of your request.

We have rules for all visitors to follow to protect our records.

Download search room regulations and handling guidelines

During your visit

  1. You should arrive at the main entrance to the City Chambers, where you will be issued with a visitor pass by staff at the reception.
  2. You will then be escorted down to the archives by a member of staff.
  3. When you come into the archives you will be asked to complete a reader registration form. The duty archivist will help you find the records you need.
  4. When you leave the archives a member of staff will take you to the 14 Cockburn Street exit.


  • can reference records in our search room but you can't take them away or borrow them.
  • should bring your own paper and pencil for note taking, along with a note of any reference numbers you have.
  • can't photocopy records but you can bring your own camera to take a limited number of images yourself. We will ask you to turn off the flash on your camera.