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Visiting Lochaber Archive Centre

Opening Hours

Our buildings and searchrooms are now open to everyone. While booking is not essential, we recommend getting in touch in advance to ensure the centre is open and that the records you wish to view are available.

The Lochaber Archive Centre is open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays  from 10.00am-1pm and 2pm-4.30pm.


Available Services at Lochaber Archive Centre

  • In-person research in the searchroom.
  • Microfilm/ microfiche readers are available.
  • A selection of local and family history books are available to assist in your research.
  • Remote archive and family history research– we can undertake research on your behalf. This service costs £30 per hour. Email [email protected] for archive research or [email protected] for family history research.
  • Family history consultations – in-person family history consultations are only available at Highland Archive Centre however we offer virtual one-to-one consultations with the Family Historian. This service costs £30 per hour.  Email [email protected] to enquire about availability and to book.

Services available at our other centres

  • Scotland’s People – this service is only available at Highland Archive Centre in Inverness. It is  administered by our colleagues in the Registration Service. Bookable slots are available on a limited basis. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

Planning Your Visit

Highland Archive Service online catalogue allows you to see what records are available to view in our four Archive Centres. The catalogue contains nearly 100,000 descriptions of archives and library holdings and you can search by text, reference number or Archive Centre to help you find entries relating to the subject you’re interested in. Once you have found records you would like to view, you can contact the Archive Centre about accessing them. Please note that not all of our archive holdings are catalogued and available to search online so if you have any other questions about possible records please get in touch and we can arrange a call-back to further discuss your research needs.

Ahead of your visit

We offer the option for you to pre-order any documents ahead of your visit, saving you time on the day. You can pre-order up to 10 items in advance and this can include original archive documents, microfilm and any reference books held in our library.

We recommend that you book at least two days in advance and preorder all documents ahead of your visit. Please e-mail [email protected] for further information, to make an appointment or to arrange a call-back to further discuss your needs. Drop-in customers will also be accommodated as far as possible on the day.

We will send you guidance and information including a registration form which should be completed ahead of your visit. The Archive Service staff will use the information provided to compile statistics on searchroom use. This form can also be completed in the searchroom.

What to bring with you

  • Laptops– You can bring a laptop or tablet. Please note that WiFi is not currently available at Lochaber Archive Centre.
  • Stationery– Please bring your own pencils/sharpeners/paper, etc. Pens are not permitted in the Searchroom to protect the documents.
  • Cameras– You can take photos of documents with your phone/digital camera, subject to copyright or other restrictions. There is a charge for camera use of £5 per day. Miniature scanners are not permitted.

During your visit

  • Limited public parking is available at the rear of Alexander Ross House, this includes disabled parking. Alternatively there is a large car park opposite the Centre (West End Car Park), accessed via the West End roundabout.
  • On arrival in the foyer of Alexander Ross House, please ring the bell for the Lochaber Archive Centre.  A member of staff will speak to you through the intercom and welcome you in.
  • Staff will direct you to your desk where any documents you have requested ahead of your visit will be waiting.
  • There will be the opportunity to talk to a member of staff who will be able to help generally with any research questions you may have.
  • Additional documents may be ordered as part of your visit, please ask a member of staff.
  • Contactless payments are the preferred payment method, however we continue to accept cash for occasions when this is not possible.
  • Toilet facilities are available for customer use.
  • Toilet facilities are available for customer use and are located in the corridor outside the searchroom.

How to find relevant records…

As well as our Highland Archive Service online catalogue we also have copies of catalogues of many of the archive holdings available in the searchroom. Please feel free to browse through them to find any archive material which may be of interest. Each catalogue has an initial description giving a summary of the contents, details of the creator and the types of records which can be found within the collection.

Further resources…

There are catalogues of holdings relevant to the Highlands but held elsewhere. There is a small reference library available of secondary sources relating to the Highlands.

How to request documents …

A document request slip must be completed for every archive to be consulted. The document reference will be found in the catalogue. Please give the completed request slip to a member of staff and they will deliver the documents to you. This should take no longer than 15 minutes depending on how busy the searchroom is.

You can pre-order up to ten items ahead of your visit, saving you time on the day. This can include original archive documents, microfilm and any reference books held in our library.

Handling archives…

The records we look after are unique and irreplaceable so great care must be taken when handling them. For example, they need to be carried and put down carefully, they should be handled as little as possible, and nothing should be put on top of them. Please see the Searchroom Rules for further guidance.

To obtain a copy…

Copying of all archives is subject to copyright restrictions, the condition of the original material and is at our discretion.

You can take photos of documents with your phone/digital camera, subject to copyright or other restrictions. There is a charge for camera use of £5 per day and on completion of the appropriate Self Service Photography Form. Miniature scanners are not permitted.

If copying is permitted a Reprographics Form must be completed prior to copying being undertaken. There is a small charge for this service.

When the research is finished…

Please leave the documents and any other items you have been using on the table as they will be collected after you have left.

Please remember to collect all your belongings before leaving the building.