Other Research Centres, Libraries, Museums etc in Somerset and Dorset

Please do check opening times, admission fees, etc before visiting - as these can change with little notice. See below for addresses in neighbouring counties - your ancestors may have moved there.

Dorset History Centre

Address: Dorset History Centre, Bridport Road, Dorchester DT1 1RP

Telephone: 01305 250550 Fax 01305 257184

Opening Hours: Monday: closed to visitors.
Tuesday - Friday: 9.00am to 5.00pm
Saturday: 9.00 to 4.30pm (only open first and third Saturdays in the month)

On Mondays The Centre runs volunteer activities, visits by prearranged groups and other organised events.

(Additional note: car parking, which is often difficult on site on weekdays is easy on Saturdays).

If you are planning on looking at original documents you will need to register at reception. Please bring proof of identity showing name, address and signature. If you already have a CARN card from another record office, please bring this. There is no need to register if you are planning to use the computers, family history resources or the Local Studies Library. There is no charge for registering or using the service.

Closed for all Bank Holidays

Advance booking recommended.

E-mail: archives@dorsetcc.gov.uk

Web Site: http://www.dorsetforyou.com/archives

Somerset Heritage Centre


Somerset Heritage Centre
Brunel Way
Langford Mead
Norton Fitzwarren

Telephone: 01823 278805 (enquiries) 01823 337600 (Appointments if you want to reserve a space)

Opening Hours:
The Heritage Centre is open throughout the year with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, all bank holidays and during our annual closure (see below). 
Monday  1.00pm - 5.00pm
Tuesday - Friday  9.00 am - 5.00 pm
Alternate Saturdays  9.00 am - 1.00 pm Check the website for exact dates.

The Heritage Centre issues its own readers' tickets, which are valid for four years.  If you have not visited before, please bring some form of ID containing your name and current address (e.g. a driving licence, or utility bill), so that they can issue you with one of our readers' tickets.  Please be aware that they do not accept passports, tickets from The National Archives or library cards.  They do accept CARN tickets issued by them in the past, but not CARN tickets issued elsewhere - they are no longer part of the scheme. 

E-mail: archives@somerset.gov.uk

Web Site: http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/archives/

Bath City Record Office

Address: Guildhall, High Street, Bath, BA1 5AW

Telephone: 01225 477421

Opening Hours: Tues - Thurs 9.00a.m. - 1.00p.m., 2.00p.m. - 5.00p.m.; Fridays 9.00a.m. - 1.00p.m., 2.00p.m. - 4.30p.m. Book in Advance.

E-mail: archives@bathnes.gov.uk

Web Site: http://www.batharchives.co.uk

Bournemouth Reference Library

Address: Heritage Librarian, The Heritage Zone, Bournemouth Library, 22 The Triangle, Bournemouth  BH2 5RQ

Telephone: 01202 454848

Opening Hours:  Mon: 10.00 - 7.00   Tues: 9.30 - 7.00   Weds: 9:30 - 5.00   Thurs: 9.30 - 7.00   Fri: 9.30 - 7.00  Sat: 10.00 - 4.00

Email: heritage@bournemouthlibraries.org.uk

Website: www.bournemouth.gov.uk/libraries

Dorchester Reference Library

Address: Dorchester Reference Library, Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1XJ

Telephone: 01305 224448/224501 Fax: 01305 266120

Opening hours: Monday 10.00 am - 7.00 pm, Tuesday 9.30 am - 7.00 pm, Wednesday 9.30 am - 7.00 pm, Thursday 9.30 am - 5.00 pm, Friday 9.30 am - 7.00 pm, Saturday 9.00 am - 4.00 pm

Web Site: https://www.librarything.com/venue/21329/Dorchester-Reference-Library


The Library has copies on microfilm of local newspapers dating back to the start of the 19th Century. Film Reader booking is advisable. The Library also has access to the Internet for visitors use.

LDS Family History Centre, Bristol

Address: 721 Wells Road, Whitchurch, Somerset

Telephone. 01275 838326

Opening hours: Monday - Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10.00a.m. - 4.00p.m., 7.00p.m. - 9.30p.m. Closed some Saturdays

Note: Telephone for all bookings.


LDS Family History Centre, Poole

Address: 8 Mount Road, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset

Telephone: 01202 730646

Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9.30a.m. - 4.00p.m., 6.30p.m. - 9.00p.m.

Note: Phone during opening hours only for appointment.

LDS Family History Centre, Weymouth

Address: 396 Chickerell Road, Dorset

Opening hours: Thursday 9.00a.m. - 4.p.m., 7.00p.m. - 9.00p.m.

LDS Family History Centre. Yeovil

Address: Forest Hill.

Telephone. 01935 426817

Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday 10.30a.m. - 4.30.p.m.

North Somerset Studies Library

Address. Weston Library, Boulevard, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1PL

Telephone. 01934 636638

E-mail. weston.library@n-somerset.gov.uk

Web Site: http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Leisure/libraries/your_local_library/Pages/Your-local-library.aspx#j

Poole Central Library

Address. Dolphin Centre, Poole, Dorset BH15 1QE

Telephone. 01202 262424

E-mail. centrallibrary@poole.gov.uk

Bridport Museum

Address:  The Coach House, Gundry Lane, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 3RJ

Telephone: (01308) 422116.

Opening times: April to end of October, 10.00 am - 5.00 pm Monday – Saturday, Summer only.

Admission: Adults £1.00, accompanied children free.

Web Site: http://www.bridportmuseum.co.uk

E-mail: office@bridportmuseum.co.uk

Beaminster Museum

Address:  Whitcombe Road, Beaminster, Dorset, DT8 3BU

Telephone: 01308 863623

Opening times: Easter to end of September, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Bank Holidays, 10.30 am - 12.30 pm; 2.30 pm- 4.30 pm  Sundays, 2.30 pm - 4.30 pm

Admission: Adults £1.00, children free

Web Site: http://beaminstermuseum.wordpress.com/

Note: A new museum in the making housed in an old congregational church. Displays feature the town with its historic buildings, the history of the chapel, and family history including the Hine Cognac family who came from the town.

Dorset County Museum

Address: High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1XA

Telephone: 01305 262735 Fax: 01305 257180

Opening hours: October - June, Monday - Saturday 10.00a.m. - 5.00p.m. July - September also open Sunday same hours.

Admission charges: Adults £5.80  Children under 5 years free, 5 to 15 years 2 accompnaied children free, 3rd child £1.00,  Family Rate £15.00  Concessions £4.80

E-mail: dorsetcountymuseum@dor-mus.demon.co.uk

Web Site: http://www.dorsetcountymuseum.org/

Note: The Museum has strong literary connections with Hardy and Barnes, and also has collections of historic books and references to many families.

Gillingham Museum
(The Museum for Gillingham and the villages of northern Dorset)

Address: Chantry Fields, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 4UA

Opening times: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 10.00a.m. - 5.00p.m.,  Sat 9.30a.m. - 12.30p.m.

Web Site: http://www.gillinghammuseum.co.uk/

Lyme Regis Philpot Museum

Address: Bridge Street, Lyme Regis.

Telephone: 01297 443370.

Opening times: 1st April - 31st October, Mon - Sat 10.00a.m. - 5.00p.m., Sunday 11.00a.m. - 5.00p.m. 1st November - 31st March open and weekends and school holidays.

Admission: Adults £2.20, Over 60s and 15 - 22s £1.60, accompanied children free.

Web Site: http://www.lymeregismuseum.co.uk

E-mail: info@lymeregismuseum.co.uk


Community Heritage Access Centre (Museum of South Somerset

The building which housed the Museum of South Somerset closed on 31st March 2011.  The items in the museum have been moved to the Community Heritage Access Centre (CHAC) at SSDC Lufton Depot, 7 Artillery Road, Lufton, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 8RP which is open by appointment, Monday - Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm.  Please ring 01935 462855 to make an appointment to visit.)

Web Site: http://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/museums-and-heritage/our-museums/


Priest's House Museum, Wimborne

Address: The Priest's House, 23 - 27 High Street, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 1HR

Telephone: 01202 882533.

Opening times: 1st April - 30th October, Mon - Sat, 10.00a.m. - 4.30p.m.; also for the two weeks after Christmas.

Admission: Adults £3.00 Senior Citizens/NUS Students £2.00 Children £1.00 Family ticket (2 adults + up to 3 children ) £7.50

Web Site: http://www.aboutbritain.com/PriestsHouseMuseum.htm

E-mail: priestshouse@eastdorsetdc.gov.uk

Sherborne Museum

Address: Abbey Gate House, Church Lane, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 3BP

Telephone: 01935 812252.

Opening times: Easter - October, Tues - Sat, 10.30a.m. - 4.30p.m.,Sunday and Bank Holiday 2.30p.m. - 4.30p.m.

Admission: Adults £1.00, children and students free.

Web Site: http://www.sherbornemuseum.co.uk/

E-mail: admin@shermus.fsnet.co.uk

Note: Opened in 1968, this museum features local geology, social history, and industrial and agricultural bygones.

Wareham Museum

Address: Town Hall, East Street, Wareham.

Telephone: 01929 553448.

Opening times: 9th April - 29th October, Mon - Sat, 10.00a.m. - 4.00p.m.; 25th July - 29th August also Sunday 2.00p.m. - 4.00p.m.

Admission free.

Note: Local town history and collection of Lawrence of Arabia's photographs and ephemera.

Website: http://www.warehammuseum.fsnet.co.uk/

Waterfront and Scaplens Court Museum, Poole

Address: 4 High Street, Poole, Dorset BH15 1BW.

Telephone: 01202 683138.

Opening hours: Sunday 2.00p.m. - 5.00p.m. Mon - Sat 10.00a.m. - 5.00p.m.

Admission charged.

Note: These museums are housed in historic buildings near Poole Quay. The Waterfront records Poole's history, while Scaplen's Court concentrates on domestic history and childhood with many 'hands-on' exhibits.

Somerset County Museum

Address: Taunton Castle, Castle Green, Taunton TA1 4AA

Telephone: (01823) 355504 or 320201; fax (01823) 320229

Opening times: Tues - Sat and Bank Holiday Mondays 10.00a.m. - 5.00p.m.; closed Good Friday.

Admission: Free

E-mail: county-museums@somerset.gov.uk.

Web Site: http://www.somerset.gov.uk/somerset/culturecommunity/museums/somersetmuseums/somersetcountymuseum

Note: Facilities for the disabled and baby changing area. Convenient car and coach parking near by in Tangier. For further details and enquiries contact Somerset County Museum.

The Keep Military Museum, Dorchester

Address: The Keep, Bridport Road, Dorchester, Dorset

Telephone: 01305 264066

Opening times:
9.30 - 5pm Monday to Saturday 1st April - 30th September
9.30- 5pm Tuesday to Saturday 1st October - 31st March
10.00am - 4pm - Bank Holidays
Last admission - 1 hour before closing
Closed - Sundays and for two weeks over Christmas/New Year

Admission: Adults £4.00, Concessions £3.00, Family ticket (2 adults + up to 3 children) £12.00, Annual Membership - £8 per person (unlimited free admission during opening hours for one year)

E-mail: thekeep@westcountry.net

Web Site: http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org

Note: The Keep holds a number of records of Family History interests for the Devonshire, Dorsetshire and Devonshire and Dorset Regiments, although it does not hold any service records.  Please write or email with full details of your enquiry. A charge may be made for research.  Access to the Library is by prior appointment only.