Using the Church of England Record Centre

 Reading Room closure – Lambeth Palace Library & Church of England Record Centre.

Our reading rooms were due to close at the end of April to enable both collections and staff to move into the new Lambeth Palace Library building.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to their closure in March and while it was initially hoped that this would be a temporary measure, it is now clear that we will not be in a position to re-open in the near future. We have therefore taken the difficult decision to remain closed until we have completed the move to the new library.
We look forward to welcoming both our many returning and new readers to the new Lambeth Palace Library in 2021.



At the moment the only images we are able to provide are the existing ones, therefore both LPL/CERC won’t be accepting orders for new photography. We are sorry about any inconvenience this may cause you.


You can browse/discover images from our Collections on the LPL/CERC image management system here

The Record Centre and Lambeth Palace Library are moving to a new building to form a joint repository.

The reading room will be closed while the collections are being moved. The 30th of April 2020 will be the last day that CERC's reading room will be open. The New Library is expected to open in early 2021. We are are sorry for the inconvenience caused.


Please note that the Record Centre is situated in Bermondsey; see the bottom of the page for contact details. 


The Church of England Record Centre holds the archive of the central bodies of the Church of England: the Church Commissioners, Archbishops’ Council, National Society and Church of England Pensions Board, as well as the records of their predecessor bodies.

The core collections date from 1704, following the creation of Queen Anne’s Bounty. The material reflects the evolving organisation of the Church of England and the multitude of roles the Church played in the social, religious and economic history of England and Wales, as well covering colonial history and the Anglican Church abroad.


The collections also include copies of the records of the contents of over 1,500 individual churches compiled by the NADFAS Church Recorders; archival material including notebooks and papers of Canon Clarke and of Gordon Barnes; and extensive photographic collections. CERC also holds detailed care files on 16,000 parish churches, many containing guidebooks, postcards and photographs.


If you would like to consult material, this is possible by appointment. Please contact us to book a table in the Reading Room at the Record Centre.

Opening Hours:

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10am-4pm, except public holidays. Details of Easter and Christmas closure will be published on this page.

To book an appointment:

- please give at least 2 working days' notice

- check the references of the items you wish to see

email these to us at putting 'Advance Order (CERC)' in the subject line.

We will then confirm your booking. If you are unable to make your appointment, please let us know.


On your first visit, you must register for a reader's ticket. You can also use this card to access Lambeth Palace Library.

To obtain the ticket you need to bring 2 forms of ID - one piece of photo ID and one proof of address from each of these lists:

Photo ID

Passport; Driving licence; Police/Customs/Home Office/Warrant Card; Forces ID card; Old Lambeth Palace Library/CERC reader's card.


Proof of Address

Recent Utility Bill (Gas, Electricity, Telephone, Water - less than 3 months old); Bank/Building Society Statement (printouts not accepted); Credit Card Statement; Council Tax Bill/Council Rent Book; State Pension Book Benefit/Family Credit Book; Passport (where the address has been officially entered by the issuing authority); Driving Licence with address; TV licence.

Any item appearing on both lists can only be used once.

[Staff of the National Church Institutions: you do not need to register for a reader's ticket but bring your staff pass.]

To reduce the delay of registration, you may wish to provide us with information in advance. Please send us (by email):

  • a passport-style digital photograph of yourself
  • title/forename/surname
  • your postal address (which must match the address on the ID you bring on your first visit)
  • telephone number
  • email address

Please note that you are still required to bring the two forms of ID mentioned above on your first visit.

Disability access provision: please contact the Record Centre in advance.



Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 1030

Post: The Church of England Record Centre, 15 Galleywall Road, South Bermondsey, London, SE16 3PB.