The National Archives to reopen with restrictions on 21 July

The National Archives will reopen for pre-booked visits following the coronavirus lockdown, while free access to digital records will continue

A view of the entrance to The National Archives

The National Archives (TNA) will reopen on Tuesday 21 July following a four-month closure due to the coronavirus lockdown.

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TNA, which is the official archive for the UK government and holds many important family history records, said that the reopening would be “a very gradual process” with restrictions designed to limit the spread of the virus.

All visits will need to be pre-booked, a one-way system will be in place and a “new document delivery process” will be used to ensure the correct handling and quarantining of documents.

TNA also said that for the time being, it would continue with the free access to its digital records that was introduced during lockdown, as the reopening of the physical building would only allow access for “a very limited number of researchers”.

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A small number of local archives in England have announced plans to reopen on an appointment-only basis.

The East Riding of Yorkshire Archives Service reopened on 6 July, and Dorset History Centre will reopen on 7 July.

Lincolnshire Archives will reopen on 13 July, but their open days have been cut to Tuesday to Thursday only.

London Metropolitan Archives said that they will reopen on 7 September on a pre-booked basis for access to original documents, but warned that the number of visitors would be “very restricted” and urged visitors only to come if their access to documents was critical.

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In Ireland, the National Archives reopened on 29 June.