If you want to use our historic collections for research, you’re welcome to make an appointment. You can usually do this from Monday to Thursday, 10:00am to 1:00pm and 2:00pm to 4:45pm, but we close occasionally for special services or events.
To make an appointment, please email [email protected].
If you haven’t visited us before, please email, write or phone to discuss your research and requirements. If you’re a student, you’ll need to bring a letter of introduction from a tutor. The Library is situated in the east cloister next to the Chapter House.
To reach the reading room, you need to climb a flight of steps and a spiral staircase, with 46 steps in total. If you have limited mobility, we may be able to arrange for you to see documents (depending on their condition and the number of documents) at Westminster City Archive Centre, a short distance from the Abbey. Please contact us well in advance to discuss this.
All the material in our collections is for reference only. We want you to see as much of it as possible, but access to certain illuminated manuscripts is restricted, and some books or documents are too fragile to handle. Some other material might also be unavailable if we’re exhibiting it in the library or elsewhere in the Abbey.
When you visit, we’ll ask you to sign our visitors’ book and agree to the reading room rules.
If you bring a laptop, you’ll need to run it on batteries, as we don’t have a mains power point for readers. Photography of documents is not permitted by readers but photography can be arranged for you.
Westminster Abbey Library
The biggest challenge we face is maintaining such a large physical collection of material within a historic building – believe it or not, there’s just not enough space for it all.