Who We Are

Northumberland Archives is part of Museums and Archives Northumberland, a charity which exists to inspire, engage and connect people to Northumberland and its history by running a high-quality network of museums and archives across Northumberland that provide exciting and stimulating exhibitions, community outreach and educational programmes.

The main functions of Northumberland Archives are to ensure the preservation of historic artefacts, archive documents and Local Studies material relating to the County of Northumberland and to make these available for consultation by the public. The largest element of our holdings is the Archive collection. We acquire (by deposit or gift) a wide range of archives from both official and private sources that relate to almost all aspects of the history of Northumberland and hold in excess of four linear miles of records. We also hold in the region of 8,000 3-D objects and the Local Studies Reference and Master Collections that were previously held at Morpeth Library. All of our holdings are kept in secure environmentally controlled strongrooms to ensure their long term preservation.

Our collections are available to view in our public searchrooms unless they are subject to statutory closure periods or restrictions imposed by the owners. Trained staff are on hand within the searchrooms to advise users. Catalogues and indexes are available to consult within the searchrooms and details of many of our collections are available to consult via our electronic catalogue.

Our Archive holdings are split between two offices – Woodhorn and the Berwick-upon-Tweed Record Office. The latter holds records relating to the geographical area held by Berwick-upon-Tweed Borough Council which extends from Berwick, south to Ellingham and across to the Cheviots. Records relating to the remainder of the present County of Northumberland are held at Woodhorn.

Many of our most well-used records, particularly those sources used by family historians are available to view on microfilm only. We do not operate a booking system at Woodhorn. However, if you wish to view microfilm copies of records at our Berwick-upon-Tweed office it is essential that you reserve a microfilm reader in advance of your visit.

Users of our Woodhorn service must register prior to using The Study Centre. Registration must be done in person at the Woodhorn Welcome Desk where a Woodhorn Card will be issued. Access to the full services at the Study Centre is not possible without a Woodhorn Card. On your first visit to Woodhorn you must bring identification. For full details of the registration scheme click here.

For researchers unable to visit the offices personally we offer a Postal Research Service. Please contact either office or click here for further details. Photocopies, digital images or prints of archives can be obtained from both offices provided that copyright and other relevant guidelines are observed. Fragile documents cannot be copied. For full details of our Reprographics Service click here.

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  1. So amazed that I stumbled across your project’s website. I’m working on a somewhat similar project based on old patient records from the Delaware State (Mental) Hospital at Farnhurst, Delaware from the late 1800s to 1920. I have 7 old hard-bound, handwritten ledgers that I am typing into a searchable database for future research.

    Interestingly, if people stayed in the hospital long enough, they often developed TB. At one point, there was even a TB building built to house them.

    I am really enjoying your website and the work you do! Bravo!!

    Kathy Dettwyler, anthropologist at the University of Delaware

    • Stannington Sanatorium Project says:

      Hi Kathy
      Thanks for you comments, sounds like a great project you’re working on too! Hope it’s all going well.

  2. Teresa Jackson says:

    I have been really interested to read about the Stannington Sanatorium Project because I have only recently discovered that one of my mother’s cousins died in the sanatorium in 1924 aged 20. I have since discovered that he was originally admitted in 1913, discharged and then re-admitted in 1917. He must have been discharged again at some time but then sadly is re-admitted in 1921 and then dies in the sanatorium in 1924. I would love to know more about this terrible illness and how it effected his short life. Can you tell me if there will be records of his time spent in the sanatorium from those years? I look forward to hearing from you. Teresa.

    • Stannington Sanatorium Project says:

      Hi Teresa
      The one record we do have that covers this early period of the sanatorium is the Matron’s Medical Report Book, we posted a transcript of the first entry from it in the blog ( http://www.northumberlandarchives.com/2014/11/28/matrons-medical-report-book/ ). Although all the children’s names are listed here by 1913 they had stopped routinely listing them all upon admission, but brief mention is sometimes made of certain patients in some of the reports at this time.

      Unfortunately our collection of patient case files doesn’t begin until the late 1930s but we do have indexes of patients from the period that you are interested in which should definitely mention your mother’s cousin if he was in the sanatorium. The information found in these indexes includes the patient name, address, date of admission, and date of discharge, but there won’t be any specific details of his condition.

      Another place that might be worth looking are the school log books. The sanatorium had its own school so that the children didn’t miss out on their education, and the first log books runs from 1914 to 1933. Even if there’s no specific mention of your mother’s cousin it will give a good idea of life in the sanatorium. Likewise we have some photographs of the sanatorium from the 1920s onwards.

      Hope this helps
      Stannington Sanatorium Project

  3. Julia Hyde says:

    I have been searching my deceased grandmother’s background and I am hoping you can help. Her name was Agnes Hannah and married Robert Ramsay Watson. I believe she was born in 1900 in Northumberland County, but was an orphan. I know nothing about her or her family.
    Please reply if you have any news for me.
    Thank you
    Julia Hyde

    • Stannington Sanatorium Project says:

      Hi Julia
      Thanks for getting in touch. We do provide a postal research service to tackle family history challenges like this, if you’d be interested if you email collections@woodhorn.org.uk with the details you know they’ll be able to help you further.

      All the best

  4. Denis Gavin says:

    Hi, I was a patient from February 1955 until approx November/December the same year. I would love to hear from any patients/staff who would have been there at that time. I can books contacted on donna_marieg@hotmail.com.

    Many thanks
    Denis Gavin

    • Ronald James Owens says:

      Hi Denis. I was a patient from about 1955 to 1959,. A good 4 years or more. Ward 5 rings a bell but I cant be sure. I have a few pictures from that time which I would love to share. Regards. ronjowens@fsmail.net

  5. Tracy Lawton says:

    Hi, have just stumbled across this amazing site while doing a bit of research about my Dad’s early life. He was born in Lintlaw, Duns and grew up in Berwick-upon-Tweed. Eldest of 4 boys, born with chronic bronchitis. Always known that he wasn’t able to start mainstream school until age 7 as he spent his early years in a sanatorium – which was Stannington! Have photos of him and his mum (my Grannie) presumably visiting, both sat on a large manicured lawn – in her handwriting on the reverse “Stannington 28 July 1940”. Please advise how I go about finding any further info on his time at Stannington. Thanks very much for your help.

    • Northumberland Archives says:

      Thank you for getting in touch Tracy, a member of the Northumberland Archives team has got in touch via email about your request for information about your father’s time at Stannington. Many thanks for your comment, the Stannington Sanatorium Project team.

  6. Sarita says:

    Thanks for the info

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