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Taking Photographs in the Reading Room

Most of the material in the Archive Centre is in copyright until 2039, even if it is old (see page 13 of the National Archives advice, downloadable below). Photographs are allowed only when they are made in compliance with UK copyright legislation (see the appropriate Link below). In particular sections 28-31 of that document describe the 'Acts Permitted in relation to Copyright Works', the exemptions under which your photography is probably permitted. Note that it is not permitted for anyone to take photographs on behalf of anyone else - you must take your own photographs. Please contact the archivists if you are not physically able to take your own photographs under the existing restrictions, we may be able to help.

You will be required to sign a licence agreement (see below to download) stating that you have read the College's information on copyright (see below).


If you expect to take more than a couple of photographs you must notify the Archive Centre when you make your booking. Due to limited space for short-term document storage we have to limit the number of such researchers present on any given day.


You will still be required to register if you are a new reader, to complete a separate call slip for each file or volume requested, to wait while documents are fetched and prepared for use, to abide by all other Reading Room regulations, and to handle the documents carefully.


You will not be permitted to photograph documents for which we own only copies and not the originals. This is part of our agreement with the donors and is in addition to any restrictions due to copyright. The Charleston papers (CHA) in particular are affected by this; please check carefully the catalogue description of the files of interest to you to ensure they are not photocopies. Material supplied to King's digitally is also subject to this restriction.

To photograph manuscripts by TS ELIOT you must obtain advance permission from Faber and Faber; see the Hayward Bequest catalogue from the link below, and copy the archivist into your emails with them.

Your camera, phone or device must be absolutely SOUNDLESS; the archivists will check this before you begin. You will not be permitted to use a device that makes any noise.


Document preservation takes priority over imaging. The reading room regulations (see below to download) apply to all readers including those taking photographs. In addition:

  • Do not force tightly-bound volumes open at the binding edge.
  • Do not open volumes flat onto the tabletop.
  • Obey archivist’s instructions about bookrests and/or weights, and handling.
  • Please do not drop your device onto the documents. If your device has a strap, put it around your neck.
  • Do not rest your device on any documents at any time.


Your device's flash must be turned off. Documents must be left flat on the tabletop and volumes must be left on book-rest wedges. Items must be photographed on the tables and not on the windowsills. You must use existing reading room lighting.

NO TRIPODS, SCANNERS including scanning apps and/or hand-held scanners, or device stands are permitted. Please contact the archivists if you are not physically able to take your own photographs under these restrictions, we may be able to help.

Every image must include the full COPYRIGHT NOTICE CARD provided by the archivists.

Check that your images provide LEGIBLE TEXT and that you know the REFERENCE NUMBERS of the documents imaged. The archivists cannot recreate the information after you are gone.


Fewer than ten photographs per day: Free

More than ten photographs on any one day: £5 per licence which lasts for the duration of your visit. This includes the first 15 files each day, after which there is a cost of 50p per file or volume fetched (whether or not you take photographs from it).

VAT at 20% will be added as appropriate.

letter with Chapel in the background
letter with Chapel in the background

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