Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to make an appointment to visit the archive?

We do not require you to make an appointment to visit our onsite gallery areas. However, if you would like to make use of our general and specialist library/research suites or have a specific enquiry, please do contact us in advance. View our SWiB News Page for details of planned office closures to avoid a wasted journey.

Visit our Access and Enquiries page for full details on visiting the archive.

Do I need to bring anything with me?

Proof of identity is required to make use of our research/library suites.

Are you open at weekends?

The archive and gallery is open between Monday and Friday, 9:30am-4:30pm and some Saturdays. Please keep an eye on the SWiB news page for details!

We do also often undertake several outreach projects in the area some of which occur at the weekend. See our SWiB Outreach and Learning page for further details.

Where are you located?

For full details on our opening times and location, see our Contact us page.

What subjects do your collections cover?

All collections are appraised in accordance with our Collection Policy. We acquire material pertaining to the whole region covering mostly Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall.

Our ever-expanding catagories of research/interest covered are as follows:

Lifestyle and Leisure
Aerial Views
Business and Industry
Armed Forces
Buildings and Development
Commemorative Events
International Relations

What years do your collections cover?

Our earliest collections are; PD-42 - John Boulden Collection, 1880s-1900s and PD-19 William Gilhen Collection, 1890s-1930s.

We have some pre-war collections, wartime collections and collections relating to post-war development.

Our Western Morning News Collection is dated from 1945 through to 2003. Please note, all original photographs prior to 1941 from the WMN/EH Collection were destroyed during the Blitz.

We also have on board several 'living archive' collections which have been captured by existing photographers and is being archived for the benefit of future research.

What if I am unable to make it to the image bank in person?

Details of all our collections and online catalogues/indexes can be viewed by visiting the 'Our Collections' pages.

Our online galleries page offers access to a selection of images from our growing collections.

For those attempting to locate a specific image from our collections we offer a research service as part of the public access services we provide. Fill out a SWiB search request form from here.

We appreciate that it is not always possible to provide specific details and always try to cater for all search requests.

Can I purchase prints/copies of any of the images?

Yes, in addition to our research service we also offer a standard copy order service. For details of our reproduction service and current scale of charges, refer to our SWiB copy order form.

Do you accept credit/debit cards?

No, in order to purchase prints from us, we only accept cash or cheques made payable to the 'Plymouth Barbican Association'.

Do I need permission to use any images held by you?

Permission must be obtained to make use of or publish any images held by SWiB. You will be required to complete and sign a license agreement form before permission can be granted.

Depending upon the nature of the publication, you may also be required to pay a reproduction fee.

I have an old photograph/set of photographs, can you scan them for me?

We have acquired many collections from local businesses, photographers and from members of the public. Most of these collections are offered to us to preserve onsite as a permanent or long-term deposit within our environmentally controlled strong room.

We also acquire material on a temporary loan basis, these items are scanned to file and catalogued and then returned to the depositor upon request. A copy of the digital archive is also given to the depositor.

For further details about this service, please see our how can you contribute? page.

Do you accept moving image format?

No, we do not have sufficient means by which to provide access to moving film based formats. For records of this type, we refer people to the South West Film and Television Archive.

For full details about the material we acquire, see our Collections Policy which can be viewed from our policies/credentials page.

If you have a question you would like to ask about SWiB, our work or the services we provide, please do contact us.

Further Links:

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


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