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Durham University

Special Collections

Information for visitors


We aim to make our collections available to the widest possible range of audiences for the purposes of research, learning and enjoyment subject to the constraints of maintaining the safety, security and preservation of the items, and the safety and security of our users at all times. Research access is provided in our staffed search rooms at Palace Green Library, 5 The College and Ushaw College Library.

Researchers are required to register as an Archives and Special Collections reader, and to produce photographic proof of identity and of permanent address. You are advised to give advance notice of your requirements whenever possible. Search room rules are displayed on site, as well as guidelines for users. You can bring into the Search Room your own notes, pencils, laptops and your own books, within reason, and can use silent, hand-held cameras or 'phones to photograph most material, on request. There are lockers available for coats and bags. Food and drink is not permitted in the building.

Wifi is normally available for members of the University or those registered with Eduroam, and as a self-registering public service.


Getting to Palace Green Library

The picturesque World Heritage Site of Palace Green does add some challenges to reaching us.

Parking is not available on the peninsula or Palace Green. For more information see Information on car parks in the city and the park and ride scheme can also be found on the Durham County Council website. A local bus service known as the Cathedral Bus runs between the train station, coach park and market place to and from Palace Green.

Map showing university facilities within Durham City (the Library is the larger building on the west side of Palace Green, next to the bus stop, or number 22 on the static map).

For access details and other visitor information, see our separate visitor pages (our collections are all accessed within the Barker Research Library).

Getting to 5 The College

5 The College is situated in the close on the south side of the cathedral, at number 58 on the Durham City map (the cathedral close at Durham is called The College). Access is through an archway on North Bailey (the road heading down the peninsula), just before you get to St John's College if coming from the Market Place (number 17 on the map), or alternatively through the Cathedral Cloisters (exit the Cloisters at south-east corner, diagonally opposite the entrance from the Cathedral). Number 5 is at the left side of the main terrace of houses.

5 The College is open on Wednesdays to Fridays for access to the cathedral archives, by appointment only. Please call or email for an appointment (contact details at right hand side). Note that there are steps at the front of 5 The College and our search room is on the first floor, with no lift access. Please mention when making an appointment if these would cause difficulties, so that we can make alternative arrangements to access the archives stored here.

There is no car parking available in the College at any time.


Accommodation for visitors to the department is sometimes available in University colleges, especially during vacations. See the Event Durham web page. Additional information is available for visitors to Durham University.

Contact details

Special Collections
Palace Green Library
Palace Green
United Kingdom
: +44 (0)191 334 2972