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Library & research

Using our library and archives

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.

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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.

Accessibility

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.

Access to material

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.

The rules

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.


Contact us

Westminster Abbey Library
East Cloister
London
SW1P 3PA

[email protected]

020 7654 4830

The biggest challenge we face is actually time – getting all our work done alongside the daily routine of the Abbey as a working church, visitor attraction and home to 1,000 years of history.

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