The Suffolk Archives statement on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its services is available to read here.

Suffolk Archives Coronavirus update

2 November 2021

The John Blatchly Local Studies Library and the Searchroom at The Hold, as well as the Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft Branches are open by appointment only for viewing original archives and local studies materials.

To help keep our customers, volunteers, and staff safe, we are continuing to limit the number of people in the Searchroom spaces and using the microfilm/fiche machines. We are also maintaining increased cleaning in our branches and encouraging social/physical distancing and the wearing of face coverings when staff, volunteers and customers are moving around our buildings.

Our aim is to return to as full a service as we can and as soon as possible, whilst maintaining the safety of all our users and staff. This is provided that no further restrictions are brought in.

From Tuesday 16 November, in response to customer suggestions, we are planning to introduce some longer booking slots at Bury St Edmunds and The Hold, as well as the opportunity to order up to 10 archive items for viewing.  At Lowestoft we are hoping that we can open our normal hours (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10.00-15.00).  This is of course provided no further restrictions are brought in.

Revised opening hours from 16 November:

Ipswich [Ipswich Searchroom and John Blatchly Local Studies Library]
Tuesday and Thursday

  • 10.30-16.30 up to 8 people/spaces available in total.


  • 11.00-15.30 up to 8 people/spaces available in total.

Bury St Edmunds
Tuesday and Thursday

  • 10.00-13.00 (Increasing the morning booking slot by 1 hour) up to 5 people/spaces available in total
  • 14.00-16.00 up to 5 people/spaces available in total.

Alternate Saturday [20th November, 4th December, 18th December]

  • 11.00-15.00 up to 5 people/spaces available in total.

Lowestoft –

  • Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10.00-15.00.

If these changes can be implemented safely and successfully the plan is to offer additional opening hours.  Further details will be posted here nearer the time.

Guidance on how to get to The Hold is available on The Hold webpage and Travelling to The Hold – Suffolk Archives.

The appointments page on our website, has been updated to reflect these changes please. Click here to view the appointments page.

Researchers, depositors, and owners wishing to book to view any original archives are advised to contact Suffolk Archives to ensure the material they wish to view is available and they can make a booking at the appropriate branch.

Those wishing to offer material for inclusion in Suffolk Archives collections are also advised to contact

Remote enquiry, research and digitisation services are available at the Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, and Lowestoft branches.

There is no change to the services users can access online; they can still browse the website and search the catalogue, as well as purchase and download already digitised images.  Further information is available on our Using the Website page.

The Café, permanent exhibition area in The Street, Exhibition Gallery showing The House and Home Exhibition until 9 January 2022, and Shop at The Hold will continue to be open.

All our plans are formed in line with current government and Suffolk County Council guidance and as such may have to be revised should further changes occur.

We will continue to update this page as and when anything changes, or new information becomes available