British National Archives to trial 12-Document Limit Per Day for Visitors, as Academics Warn Research Could Be Affected

An article in the History News Network warns that a new trial that will restrict readers to 12 documents a day has generated concerns it may add “huge expense” to research of historians, genealogists, and anyone else who makes extensive use of the documents in the British National Archives in Kew, west London.

The National Archives claimed the move was designed to increase efficiency – but faced an immediate backlash from historians who complained their work could become untenable.

You can read more in an article in the History News Network at

One Comment

This is a dreadful idea. Obviously created by someone who has no understanding of how research is conducted. I conducted exhaustive research at what was then called the public record office in Kew gardens in the spring of 1997 and they were very cooperative in bringing entire banker’s boxes of documents to me as I endeavored to find material in the records of the colonial office. The 12 document limit would now make it impossible for me to accomplish my research goal and would do nothing but make it possible for the clerks who retrieve the documents to miss file them. The only good thing I can say about this is that it is not as bad as trying to retrieve pension files from the US national archives which three years ago was limiting researchers two only two files per day. These archivists seem to think that they own the materials and can arbitrarily restrict access when in fact they are supposed to be public servants who are merely custodians of records that belong to the public or in the case of the UK national archives to the queen


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