Current Service

The Churchill Archives Centre is currently closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, we are still able to offer a limited remote enquiry and copying service and can be reached by email at

At this time we are pleased to offer up to 1 hour of research and up to 50 copies, per researcher per month, for free.  Further research and copying can be carried out by agreement depending on team availability and in accordance with our current terms and conditions and price list, see Copying.

Do also check out our existing online resources which include selections from the Margaret Thatcher Papers, the Papers of Rosalind Franklin, the Churchill Papers and more.

A glimpse into the Archives Centre reading room through the glass entrance door.

Plans for reopening

In recent weeks the Archives Centre has been busy working closely with Churchill College, and consulting with the wider university and other heritage organisations, to find a way forward for the team to be able to return to the Archives Centre.

We have made good progress with our planning and procedures and currently have a small cohort of staff on site for three days a week to deliver essential services (our enquiry and copying service). We hope to slowly expand the number of staff on site, though we will do so cautiously and carefully.

We look forward to welcoming researchers back as soon as possible, but sadly this is likely to be the last phase of reopening the Archives Centre. In the coming weeks we will be carefully reviewing what adjustments are needed to our reading room and other spaces in order to be able to provide our services safely. The safety of the team, researchers and other visitors are paramount in our decision making.

A home working set up - a desktop computer is set up on a kitchen table, a dining chair is pulled up to the table. To one side there are some files, a fruit bowl, and a large green golf umbrella which has been set up to reduce glare on the screen. A laptop on top of a stack of books which are forming a makeshift monitor stand. In the background there is a fridge and a house plant with bright pink flowers.

Working from home

The Archives Centre team is still mainly working from home. Whilst this means that we don’t have access to our precious collections, it also means that we have an opportunity to work on projects that we may not otherwise had time to address.

Some examples of our home working projects are the transcription of Mary Soames’s wartime diaries in preparation for publication next year (to be jointly edited by the Archives Centre and Emma Soames); cataloguing audio material digitised through the Unlocking Our Sounds Heritage project</a>; cataloguing post 1992 Margaret Thatcher papers from digital copies; preparation of our catalogue data for the move to ArchivesSpace archive management system; and planning and assembling online exhibitions.

We have also been maintaining a social media presence on Instagram and Twitter, even when the Archives Centre was operating with a skeleton staff.

Meanwhile, our collections are safe and sound.  During lockdown our conservators have worked closely with other college staff to undertake vital maintenance and physical checks. Now that we have a small cohort onsite for a short working week we are able to keep a closer eye on the material.

The newly refurbished reprographics room. There are large tables against the three walls, which are painted black. There is a plan chest on the left hand side of the room, and two over head scanners on one of the tables.


Between December 2019 and February 2020 we made physical improvements to our reading room, reprographics room (for the team to produce digital copies of archive material), and storage for newly acquired papers (prior to sorting and cataloguing). We also created a new locker room for our researchers and had the lift to the reading room replaced.

All these building works were aimed at improving the services we can provide for readers and the care of our collections. We look forward to all being back in our newly refurbished Archives Centre and welcoming you to the reading room as soon as possible.

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Writing competition

In April and May the Archives Centre ran a competition for school children to write a diary entry capturing life in lockdown. Open to 11-16 year olds, the Centre received 70 entries from around the country and about 50 of those are being added to the archive as a record of young people’s experiences during Covid-19. The letters and diaries will be anonymised and closed for 10 years. After careful consideration, the chosen winners were 16 year old Lizzie and 14 year old Serena.

You can read the winning diary entries on our website.

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