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Search Room

We are delighted to welcome you to the HES Archive and Library. We are providing a service for visitors who need access to original material for their research. 
  • Our opening hours are 10am until 4pm, Tuesday to Friday. 
  • Visitors must pre-book their visit five working days in advance.
  • All the material you want to research, including books and photographs, must be requested in advance, you can order up to 10 items.
  • Pre-booking via our Search Room booking form is essential. Please do not travel if you have not made an appointment.
  • You will be asked to provide photographic identification and proof of address on arrival. 

Find out more about what to expect on your visit.


Our Service

Would you kindly provide us with some feedback on our archive and library services? The survey should take no more than 5 minutes to complete, and your response will be treated anonymously.

Availability of Material 

In 2026 the archive collections will be moving to a new storage facility. In preparation for this, a Move Ready project is underway to prepare collections for the move, including re-housing and enhanced location records. To facilitate this work, archive materials stored off site will be delivered fortnightly, in which case you may need to wait up to two weeks for your search room appointment. Please note, this only applies to collection items stored offsite – most of our collections are onsite and appointments can be made with less than two weeks notice.  

As part of our ongoing digitisation programme, some material may be briefly unavailable in our Search Room. From October 2021 onwards some of the green boxes may be unavailable. For more information on how we are increasing our volume of digital material and making more available online, visit our page.


Archives House project

This is an exciting project, which will see the HES archive move to a building in Bonnyrigg that is being converted into a world-class facility. A new reading room will also be created in Longmore House. Access to John Sinclair House will continue as normal.

Find out more about the project here



Archives - these can be identified by searching Canmore

Library - the library catalogue is available here

Green Boxes – a list of the Archaeology Green Boxes, and the Architecture Green Boxes is available to aid identification of the boxes you might require on a visit

DP 231455


Digitisation and Copying Services

We provide a range of copying facilities in the Search Room and permit self-copying (cameras or phones) of certain material. We can also offer high quality professional digitisation and printing.



John Sinclair House, 16 Bernard Terrace, Edinburgh EH8 9NX. The Search Room is on the first floor and is fully accessible for visitors with disabilities.

Bernard Terrace is located off South Clerk Street in Newington, Edinburgh and is served by a number of buses. Limited car parking is available for visitors to the rear of the building.


DP 093682

Help Topics

Help is available on the following items. Please click on the relevant link below to read more. If you cannot find what you are looking for please contact us.