Search room user guide

On arrival

  • Let us know you've arrived using the BT Archives button on the intercom outside the building. We will come and collect you
  • Have your photographic and address identification ready
  • The building is completely non-smoking
  • Before starting your research we'll ask you to complete a short visitor record

Finding what you want

Our research material is broadly divided into three categories; the telecommunications reference library (printed sources), Archives (original source documents) and visual media (photographs, films and videos). 

Reference library 

Journals, reference books and other printed sources are available on open shelves and can be searched using our catalogue.

Archives

Our catalogue contains all the archival documents open for public inspection. In due course this will be incorporated in to the BT Digital Archives

Some of our documents are uncatalogued or in a fragile condition. We reserve the right to withhold these.

Photographic, film and video collections

Our photographic collection has around half a million images covering telecommunications themes dating back to the last century.

Not all our photographs and films are catalogued and online yet. However, our two primary photographic series are available in the BT Digital Archives and a large selection of films, dating from the 1930s to 2010, can be viewed in our film archive.

Some do's and don'ts

Our documents are mostly unique and irreplaceable. To make sure they survive for future researchers we ask you to follow these guidelines:

  • Do use the free lockers to secure your belongings
  • Do only use pencil to make notes
  • Do feel free to take Photographs, but no flash please. There is a £5 daily charge. Our publication scheme contains all our current prices
  • Do return documents and files in the exact order they were produced
  • Do use the available support cushions for large books or for volumes with weak spines
  • Don't eat or drink in the search room
  • Don't mark the documents in any way
  • Don't lean on documents or open volumes, or rest on them to write notes
  • Don't stack open volumes on top of each another
  • Don't attempt to take documents out of the search room

Photocopies and publication

  • Our documents are available on condition that no reproduction or publishing is done without our permission
  • We may not allow copying of documents that are oversize or too fragile to be reproduced without risk of damage
  • You can do your own photocopying at our discretion and subject to copyright restrictions. We'll give you a form to complete before starting any photocopying
  • Individual documents should not be removed from files or other bundles of fastened papers. Mark any such pages with a slip of paper and ask one of the team to do the copy for you
  • The first four photocopies on each visit are free of charge. Each page thereafter is 25p per monochrome copy. All our revenue is donated to ChildLine, one of BT's strategic charity partners