Welcome to the Berkshire Record Office

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The Berkshire Record Office holds the archives of the Royal County of Berkshire. We look after nearly nine hundred years of the County's history.

Explore Berkshire's past and discover more about our holdings and how to use us, as well as see some of the treasures from our collections, by clicking on any of the links within the website.

Thinking of visiting us? Please see our Planning a Visit Page for details on how to book.

Got a query? Please Contact Us and we'll do our best to help you.

Our aim...

Berkshire Record Office exists to collect, care for, share and promote the rich archival heritage of the Royal County. We want to remember, celebrate and appreciate the things that make Berkshire special.

We will:

  • Acquire a comprehensive selection of archive materials for Berkshire people and places, ensuring our collections reflect past and present life in the Royal County and inspire pride within its communities
  • Provide safe-keeping for these materials through appropriate storage, collections care and information, so that the county's history is looked after sustainably for the future
  • Respond to the opportunities of providing access through technology
  • Offer worldwide digital resources and a visitor experience to explore and research the collections
  • Engage people by telling the story of the county's past, and enabling direct contact with the collections for learning and enjoyment

What we do...

Our job is to locate and preserve archives and records relating to the Royal County of Berkshire and its people, and make them available for all to research.

Part of our function is one of democratic accountability. We store the records of public authorities like councils, hospitals and courts, so that members of the public can see how decisions were made. We also have a cultural remit. We act as an historical memory of Berkshire, enabling research for business, leisure or scholarly interests. We were established in 1948, and are run as joint service for the six district councils that provide local services in Berkshire.


The Story of Berkshire Record Office

It was in 1939 that Berkshire County Council established a Berkshire Records Committee. Its job was to consider how to look after the many official and private records that were stored in the basement of the old Shire Hall in the Forbury, Reading.

The Clerk of the Council, Harold Neobard, was keen to employ an archivist. Over twenty shire counties had already established a County Record Office, and Mr Neobard wanted Berkshire to be next.

It was agreed to appoint an archivist by April 1940, but the Second World War intervened and it was only in August 1948 that Felix Hull started work as the first County Archivist. His temporary Record Office was in the caretaker's flat of the old Shire Hall.

More detail on the story of the Berkshire Record Office can be found by clicking here.