The National Archives
The National Archives are the official archive and publisher for the UK Government, located in Kew, South West London. They hold documents covering every aspect of Jewish life in Britain.
The National Archives looks after and makes available to the public a collection of historical records dating back more than 1,000 years, including records as diverse as the Domesday Book and MI5 files. They are also a cultural, heritage and academic organisation which promotes public accessibility to iconic documents while ensuring preservation for generations to come.
Subject guides are available to help users locate the information they are looking for. The two most relevant ones are on Jews and Jewish Communities, and this collection of guides for family history research.
The Archives’ historic records also cover the history of Medieval Jewish communities, as well as the return of the Jewish community to England in the mid-1650s.
The National Archives is open to all members of the public. In order to view files at The National Archives, you will need to book your visit and order documents at least a week in advance. You will also need a reader’s ticket, which you can register for when you book online.
In order to obtain or renew your reader’s ticket you must bring two forms of identification with you: a proof of name with a valid signature and a separate proof of address. A photograph will be taken for your reader’s ticket.
The National Archives are open 9am – 5pm, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and until 7pm on Tuesday and Thursday. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Currently, visits must be booked at least a week in advance, and slots will be made available two weeks before the date of the visit, on a rolling weekly basis every Monday morning.
Additional information can be found here.
The National Archives’ online catalogue, Discovery, lists records held by the Archive as well as more than 2,500 other archives in the UK.
Over five percent of the Archives’ records have been digitised and are available online. These can be found by searching on the online catalogue and filtering for ‘available for download only’. Depending on the document these may not be free to view, and require a payment to either the National Archive or one of it’s commercial partners.