What's in the Parliamentary Archives?

The Parliamentary Archives holds several million historical records relating to Parliament, dating from 1497

These include:

Records of the House of Lords and House of Commons
Official records of both Houses of Parliament, including Acts, Journals, Deposited Plans and Appeal Cases. Some of records have been published and may be available in a library near you.

Other Parliamentary Collections
Other collections relating to Parliament, including the papers of the Lord Great Chamberlain and the History of Parliament Trust.

Private Papers
Collections of private political papers and records of political bodies and pressure groups, including Lloyd George, Bonar Law, and Lord Beaverbrook.

Records about the Palace of Westminster
An introduction to the records we hold about the building.

Family History Sources
A guide to tracing your roots through collections held by the Parliamentary Archives.
Photographic Sources at the Parliamentary Archives (PDF PDF 152 KB)
A list of photographic sources at the Parliamentary Archives, and other possible photographic sources inside and outside Parliament.
Parliamentary Archives Catalogue
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What We Don't Hold

Due to the 1834 fire which burnt down the Houses of Parliament, we do not hold any records of the House of Commons before that date, apart from the manuscript journals and minutes, and printed journals and papers of the House. Everything else created by the House of Commons prior to 1834 was destroyed by the fire.

Please note that we do not hold the records of government departments (the civil service) or the Crown. Those records can be found at the National Archives.

We hold only a few records of MPs and peers, mostly very prominent politicians. Search the National Register of Archives  for locations of personal papers of politicians in archives across the UK.

We do not hold the records of the Court of Appeal. Court of Appeal records will be in the National Archives or published in Law Reports. The only court case records we hold are House of Lords Appeal Cases, up until the creation of the Supreme Court in October 2009. 

We do not hold the medieval  records of Parliament (pre-1497). They are to be found among the Chancery records of the National Archives.

Collection & Acquisition Policy (PDF PDF 1.34 MB) How we make decisions about what to collect, and why. This fourth edition was published in February 2012.

Related Information

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New book: Victoria Tower Treasures

A new publication highlighting 150 treasures of the Parliamentary Archives

Victoria Tower Treasures book

Digitised Historical Parliamentary Material