Access and Enquiries

On-site access

In line with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Inspiring Learning For All agenda, we have established a stimulating on-site search room environment allowing for immediate public access to the collections which have been fully indexed. The archive search room, library and gallery is open between Monday and Friday, 9am-4:30pm. Appointments are not required but if you would like to make use of our onsite reading room you may like to contact the office before hand to avoid disappointment.

See our SWiB news page for details of planned office closures

Search room access is free of charge though we do gratefully accept donations towards the running costs of the archive.

We also have an ever-changing small gallery area which illustrates the many categories of images at SWiB and a designated collections database search area for members of the public to search for specific images from our catalogued collections.


Situated in the historic Barbican area of Plymouth, next door to 'The House that Jack Built' and the Lenkiewicz Mural, we have a public gallery and general reading room available on the ground floor, with offices and consultancy rooms on the first floor and a specialist research library based on the top floor. There are accessible toilet facilities available on the ground floor.

There are no refreshments available at the image bank, but a range of small cafes and restaurants are available nearby on the Barbican.

Getting Here and Parking

Plymouth Railway Station is about 20 minutes walk from the image bank though taxis are available outside. Bus services operate from the nearby Bretonside Bus Station and within the City Centre and on the Barbican for local routes. Permit parking only is available on the Barbican.

A map of our location can be viewed via our contact us page.

What to Bring

The public are invited to undertake their research; browse through the collection indexes; and view the growing catalogue of images. Proof of identity is required to make use of the search room resources in accordance with our Public Access Policy which is applicable to all search room users.

Visitors will also need pencils, no pens are permitted in the searchrooms.

Only notepads, pencils, laptops and cameras are permitted in the searchrooms.

Production of original material

Should you wish to view original material (where permitted) our Archivist will obtain the relevant sources for you upon completing a production form.

Searchroom Rules and Etiquette

In order to keep the records in the best possible condition we do not allow eating or drinking in the searchroom. Gloves and other preservation aids will be issued with original documents, where necessary.

For the benefit of other users, please observe a quiet working atmosphere and ensure that your mobile phone or pager is switched off when using the search rooms.

Laptops and Cameras

Laptops may be used at the owner's risk and a mains operation power supply is provided.

Off-site access

General enquiries

For general enquires, the full range of collections can be viewed via our about our other collections page. A selection of images from our collections can be viewed via our online galleries page.

Specific enquiries

For specific searches, the SWiB Archivist can perform a search of our database and collections for material of relevance. Please see our search requests and copy orders page for details.

Further Links

General Enquiries
Search Requests and Copy Orders
SWiB Forms
Submit Feedback
How Can You Contribute?
Contact Us


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