Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

The Portsmouth History Centre is on the second floor of Portsmouth Central Library and comprises:

  • opening hours - Monday 9.30am to 5pm, Tuesday - Thursday 9.30am to 6pm, Friday 9.30am to 5pm, Saturday  10am to 3.30pm, Sunday closed. Contact  us for Bank Holiday and Christmas opening times
  • accessibility - the History Centre is accessible to wheelchair users with a lift to the second floor
  • café - the Lily and Lime café on the third floor is open daily, 9.30am - 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am - 3pm on Saturdays. Lily and Lime supports young adults with disabilities into the world of work, offering a delicious range of homemade cakes, snacks and light lunches. Along with a full range of teas, coffees and cold drinks, the café offers both healthy and more indulgent options to library visitors.
  • toilets - on second and third floors

You can make enquiries in person at the History Centre's enquiry desk, email phone 023 9268 8046 or write to Portsmouth History Centre, Central Library, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2DX.

Visitors are asked to comply with the following to protect our collections:

Signing In

You will need to prove your name and address when you come to the centre. Show us a document, such as a driving licence or utility bill (dated within the last three months), and we will give you a Portsmouth History Centre card allowing access to the centre's resources. Day tickets can be issued for occasional visitors.


Visitors are asked to leave their bags in the lockers provided before going into the History Centre


Only pencils may be used in the History Centre. Ink blots and biro marks will never come off!


Ask the staff on duty if you would like to photograph a document. Photography permits are available at a charge of £10 a day.


Photocopying is at the staff's discretion, if the condition of the item and copyright regulations permit. Staff will also explain the scale of charges.

Food and drink

Eating and drinking is not permitted in the History Centre

Microfilm readers or genealogy computers

To book either microfilm readers or genealogy computers, phone 023 9268 8046

Many items are stored at the History Centre but part of the collection is kept off-site:

  • items stored off-site should be requested in advance. Please allow up to five working days for them to be made available at the History Centre. Original photographs are usually stored off-site
  • documents at the History Centre do not normally require advance booking. However, some records are not available for public consultation

The documents in the table below are kept at the History Centre and do not normally require advance booking. However, some records will not be available for public consultation either due to their fragile condition or for data protection reasons. 

Records fromHeld at Portsmouth History Centre

Anglican Churches in the Portsmouth Diocese

Parish records - some are available only on microfilm or microfiche

Portsmouth City Council

  • Quarter sessions records 1670 - 1882 including: examinations, indictments and calendars. These records are incomplete 
  • School records
  • Rate books
  • Civil defence records from the second world war


  • Board of Guardians minute books
  • Creed registers 1879-1953 (which served as admission registers). Creed registers under 100 years old are not available for public consultation 
City Librarian's collection (known as 11A)

Documents collected by the City Librarian including settlement certificates, apprenticeship indentures, correspondence and antiquarian papers.

Police  Staff and administration records – not records of crimes or criminals
Royal Naval & Royal Marines Orphanage Annual Reports

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