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Elswick Shipyard from The Meadows
Before your visit, please check our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to our most common questions. If you can't find the answer you are looking for please contact us.
1. “I am visiting you tomorrow and need to book a microfilm reader / ask a question beforehand”
We only check emails once a day, and enquiries are dealt with strictly in order of receipt. If your visit is less than five working days away (not including the day you contact us), please telephone instead, as otherwise we may not be able to reply in time.
2. “What records do you hold for…?”
Please check our user guides, which give details of our most popular records. For more specific enquiries, you should try searching our online catalogue. These may well give you an immediate answer without waiting for us to reply.
If you still can’t find the information you need, please make your enquiry as specific as possible. For example: “My grandfather [name] was an official at Swan Hunter’s shipyard in the 1890s, are there any records about him?”, not “do you have any information about [name]?”
3. “Can I come in next week and look at my dad’s school/ medical/ employment records?”
We’re sorry, but access to personally sensitive records such as school admission registers and medical records is restricted under the Data Protection Act for as long as the people mentioned in the record (not just the relative you are looking for) could still be alive.
It is often possible to access the information (especially if the person you are looking for is deceased), but first we have to seek permission from whoever is legally responsible for the records. This can take up to 20 working days from the time we receive your request, so you will need to allow at least a month (longer if possible). To protect the privacy of other people listed, you probably won’t be able to look at the original records – we will do the research for you and provide a copy of the relevant information.
4. “Is there anywhere to park nearby?”
There is a public car park immediately outside the building (charge 80p per hour as at July 2012). This can fill up quickly at busy times, especially in school holidays, in which case we recommend that you use nearby multi-storey car parks such as Grainger Town. See here for details of other car parks in Newcastle.
Alternatively, we are only 5 minutes walk from Newcastle Central Station (mainline and Tyne & Wear Metro), or from St James’ Park Metro Station. See here for detailed public transport information.
5. “I’m visiting from a distance: can you recommend somewhere to stay locally?”
See the local Tourist Information website for accommodation options in Newcastle and Gateshead.
6. “Can you check a baptism/ marriage/ burial record and send me the details?”
We do not offer a free “lookup” service. If you know the exact details (name, church or cemetery, exact date of birth/ marriage/ death) we can provide a photocopy of the entry for the appropriate fee. Otherwise, you can either visit us and check the records yourself, or use our research service.