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Search and Licensing Services

There are over a million records for photographs, plans and drawings of buildings and archaeological sites that you can search online. Millions of photographs, plans and drawings are still to be digitised.

Can't find what you're looking for? We offer a range of free and charged-for services to help you search the Archive.

Please note that we will be closed and our services suspended over the Christmas and New Year Period, please see below for details.

Free search service

Not everything in our collections is available online. If you can't find what you're looking for, we offer a free search service of  a single building or site.

Our free search service takes 15 working days, but it may take longer if we have a high number of enquiries. To request a free search, please use the contact details at the bottom of the page.

Priority search service

We offer a priority search service that takes just two days. For the current Priority Search fee please see our Price List.

All response times are subject to receiving your enquiry before noon. To request a priority search, please use the contact details at the bottom of the page.

Archive Enquiries

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • Archive aerial photograph looking along the river showing London Bridge, Tower Bridge and the city.
  • Archive photograph of a Victorian Gothic staircase
  • A member of Archive staff researching aerial photographs.
  • A member of staff extracting a measured drawing from one of many plan-chest drawers.

Research service

If your enquiry is about more than one site, a large area or a building type, we may be able to help. We charge an hourly fee for our research service. We'll contact you before we start to tell you how much we think this will be. Due to limited staff resources, we might not always be able to carry out large or complex searches.

For the current hourly Research fee please see our Price List. To request our research service, please use the contact details at the bottom of the page.

Licensing service

If you'd like to reproduce or publish any of our material please download and complete our Reproduction Permission Request form:

You'll find guidance notes on page 2 of the form.

We'll tell you whether we can issue permission, and if there is a charge. We'll aim to do this within 15 working days of receipt of your completed form. We'll ask for your confirmation before raising an invoice for any reproduction fee, and we'll then email or post our permission letter to you.

Christmas and New Year Break

Our enquiry and ordering service will be suspended between Monday 19 December 2016 and Monday 2 January 2017 (inclusive) over the Christmas and New Year Break. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. Please note the deadlines below:

Photographic/scan orders       -      Monday 28 November 12 noon
Express photographic orders   -      Wednesday 14 December 12 noon
Priority search services           -      Thursday 15 December 12 noon

These dates allow for despatch of print orders on Friday 16 December by first class post.  This does not guarantee a pre-Christmas delivery.  

Any enquiries or orders received after noon on Friday 16 December will be picked up the week beginning Monday 2 January 2017.

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An antique dial phone on a shelf
Archive Services

Historic England

The Engine House,
Fire Fly Avenue,

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