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Gateshead Archive

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Using the Archive from Monday 7 September 2020

We're back! We're happy to welcome you back to the Archive. We will be open Monday to Thursday 10am - 4pm (closed 12 noon - 1pm for cleaning) and Saturday 10am -1pm as a first step. 

To use the Archive you will need to do the following:

  • Public computers - please book ahead, spaces limited 
  • Selecting books to borrow - please limit your visit to 15 minutes
  • Viewing Archive collections - please book a study desk and / or microfilm reader ahead of your visit, spaces limited 
  • Be safe - sanitise your hands, observe social distancing and wear a face mask whilst in the Central Library and Archive 

To book a computer, microfilm reader or study desk session please ring 0191 433 8420 or 8430. 

Sorry, we are not able to offer daily newspapers or magazines at this time. 

About us

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A new place to discover local and family history
Gateshead Archive is a new place to discover local and family history.

The Archive is free and open to anyone to use. Our friendly staff are ready to help you get started with your family and local history journey. Gateshead Archive has been made possible with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Our collections include:

  • Thousands of books about the history of Gateshead and the North East
  • Old maps of Gateshead's towns and villages
  • Newspapers from the 1700s to present day
  • Photographs from the past one hundred and fifty years


Heritage Fund
Made possible with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund
The Archive is situated in Gateshead Central Library.

You can browse hundreds of items without an appointment and access fragile and rare material on our new touchscreens.

You will find plenty of study space and public computers with support to get online, plus a welcoming café and unique giftshop.

Get in touch

Our Collections

Gateshead Archive Covid-19 Collection

Gateshead Archive recognises how important it is to capture a record of the Covid-19 pandemic in our borough.

We want to collect and preserve materials about the pandemic's effect on the Gateshead Borough. We are interested in materials that show how people experienced the lockdown especially relating to changes to daily life and the ways the pandemic has impacted our work, social activity and leisure-time.


Our book collection includes more than 10,000 rare and unique volumes about the history of Gateshead and the North East.

The books date from the 1600s to present day, including the oldest surviving book from Gateshead, printed in 1654. Included in the book collection are cuttings, directories, minute books, periodicals and many local histories covering a wide range of social and industrial history.  

How to access our book collection

Open access collection

Many of our books are available to browse in our reading room. You do not need to be a member of the Library or make an appointment to view these items.

Search our catalogue to find Gateshead Archive books.

Secure books

Rare and valuable books are held in secure areas of the reading room and in our basement stacks (identified on the book catalogue as Gateshead Archive 'Stack' or 'Secure').

To view these items you will need to register for a Gateshead Libraries ticket (free of charge in any Gateshead Council library or online at

If you do not have a ticket you will need to provide official proof of identity validating your name and permanent address.

Examples of documents that could contain the details required include:

  • Driving licence (name, address and signature)
  • Bank statement, letter or bill (name and address)
  • Pension/benefit book (name and address)
  • vehicle registration documents (name and address)

Historic maps

Our large collection of historic Ordnance Survey maps are available digitally on our map touchscreen in Gateshead Archive reading room. This allows you to compare maps at different time periods at different levels of detail.

The county series (1858-1939) is also available in paper format to view without appointment in the reading room (help yourself from the public map cabinets).

Paper copies of Victorian town plan maps and post-war Ordnance Survey maps are held in the Archive stacks and are available on request (we recommend contacting us in advance to avoid waiting).

Other maps and plans including estate maps, retail plans, a small number of architectural plans plus geological and admiralty charts are listed on our catalogue. Visit for full listings.

Most are held in the Archive stacks and are available on request with notice. Please contact us ahead of visiting to ensure access is available (maps may not be available if they are undergoing conservation). 


View over 60 local newspapers dating from 1760 to present day. See our full list of local newspapers

We recommend booking ahead to ensure a microfilm reader is available. Email us at to make an appointment. 

Images of Gateshead

We have thousands of historic images of Gateshead available online. Take a look at our images online. Many images are available to buy. 

Local History Events

We hold regular local history talks, tours, displays and workshops as well as an annual history festival. 

Visit our Events page to find out details of all our local history events.

Community projects

We also support community groups and local organisations to access our collections. Staff can provide guidance on accessing resources, tours and tailored sessions. Contact us to find out more. Email us at

Family history records

Visit our Family History pages to find out about our collections, events and family history support.  

Research services

If you're unable to visit the library, staff can answer quick enquiries free of charge. For more detailed research, a fee will apply.

Gateshead Libraries

Central Library, Prince Consort Road, Gateshead NE8 4LN
0191 433 8410

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