Cumbria Archive Service - latest news

Closure of all Cumbria Archive Centres from 20 March 2020

Following the latest government guidance on COVID-19 and in light of the rapidly moving situation Cumbria County Council has taken the difficult decision to close all County Council libraries and archives buildings. All Cumbria Archive Centres are now closed until at least 1 May 2020, at which point future opening arrangements will be reviewed. 

Services you can still access:

• Online research guides and indexes

• CASCAT: Cumbria Archive Service Catalogue

Services that are temporarily unavailable:

• Personal visits/ Access to searchrooms

• Events and Archive Discovery Evenings, tours, group and school visit bookings 

• Depositing / donating records

• Volunteer sessions

• Record copying

• Advice on research and record sources, whether by phone, email or post

• Digitisation service except orders currently being processed 

You can see updates on our Archives News webpage or on our Twitter feed @CumbriaArchives.

We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your patience and understanding.

Barrow Archives refurbishment

Cumbria County Council is investing in Barrow Library and Archive Centre by bringing the old museum back into use as a multipurpose room for community use, improving the toilets, creating a range of meeting spaces and a new Local Studies Library.  This work will start at the beginning of December and last until September 2020. 

At times parts of the library will be cordoned off to allow the work to take place. This is to ensure the safety of library and archive visitors. The Archive and Local Studies Centre will be closed in June and July 2020 and the library closed for a short while towards the end of the refurbishment.  It is inevitable that there will be some noise and disruption during library opening hours but as far as possible the usual events will continue to be run. Find out more about the Barrow Library improvement scheme.

Planned construction works and closure of Whitehaven Archive Centre, 2020

Whitehaven Archive Centre will see significant investment to create space for a wider range of County Council services on the same site, including the Library, Archives, Registrars and Community Learning. The Archive Centre will benefit from new and increased strongroom accommodation. Details and plans are still to be confirmed. We are waiting for an updated timetable for possible works. If works are confirmed, a temporary service for the public to access microfilms and local studies books will be available in Whitehaven Daniel Hay Library during this period. There will be no public access to original archives during this time. Staff will concentrate on essential collections work including backlog listing, cleaning and preservation, transfer and recording the location of collections.  

Further updates on progress on these works at both sites will be posted here and on our Twitter account @CumbriaArchives.

Barrow Streets: Your Photos Our Town!

Barrow Archive and Local Studies Centre would like to create a photographic record of the Borough in 2017-2018. You can contribute to Barrow Archives creation of a comprehensive and up to date photographic collection of the Borough of Barrow in Furness. We are looking for photographs of all the streets and not just prominent buildings. We would also like photographs of the inside of schools, churches, shops and public buildings.

Simply take photographs of commercial and residential streets, and notable buildings, from town centres, and suburban and rural areas in and around present day Barrow, Walney, Dalton, Lindal, Askam, Ireleth and Rampside. Please take a photograph and email it to

Attach your best photos, up to a maximum of four (or less than 35MB) to each email. Include the name of the street and buildings in the file name, and give your full name in the email. If you would like to donate printed photos from the past, or a large digital collection; or want further information on this project, email as above or call the Archives at Barrow Library on 01229 407377.

Once sufficient numbers of photographs have been received a webpage will be published. Contributors will be notified of this. Thank you for helping develop this important community resource for future generations.