We have a range of resources available relating to Derby:
To find out the opening hours of our Local Studies Library, how to find us and other useful information for visitors, visit our Local Studies and Family History Library page.
Derby's history forms part of our eLibrary. The Library has digitised a selection of fascinating old books and manuscripts from the collection, themed around the Enlightenment.
The Calendars of Prisoners have also been digitised. They provide details of inmates in the county jail and in houses of correction within the county. They can be browsed or searched. We are also planning to add some local newspapers.
Derby's History Collection also includes multi-media material about Derby produced by local groups, such as the Sports Shorts films.
We specialise in information on Derby and its area. We also have many useful family history resources and indexes for the whole country.
For more details of what sources we have, how they can help you and how to access them, check our Guide to Family History Sources at Derby Studies Library.
In addition to using the sources in our library, you can also join one of our friendly, informal courses to help you research your family. These are advertised on our events page.
You are generally able to take copies of our resources for personal research purposes, within copyright restrictions. Please note some items may not be suitable for copying due to their size or fragile condition.
Black & whiteA4 photocopy: 10p per page
Black & white A3 photocopy: 20p per page
Microfilm/fiche print: 60p per page
Black & white A4 computer prints: 13p per page
Colour A4 computer prints: 42p per page
Digital Day Licence: £5.25 per day – unlimited copies during your visit. You can use your digital camera / phone camera, a hand held scanner or save microfilm images to your USB memory stick.
Black & whiteA4 photocopy: 50p per page
Black & white A3 photocopy: 60p per page
Microfilm/fiche print: 65p per page
Scanning of Local Studies Library material by staff (images not already digitised): £9 for up to five pages/images. We can provide high quality colour scans up to A2 size on request and there is a minimum charge of £9 for this service. This service can take up to 14 working days to complete.
Publishing is defined as ‘making available to the public’ and includes displays, exhibitions, newsletters and the Internet as well as book publishing.
It is your responsibility to ensure you do not infringe copyright, and you will need to seek our permission before publishing copies of library material. Please speak to a member of our team, or email email@example.com for guidance.
If you are carrying out research, we always recommend you visit us to make the most of our resources. However, we appreciate this is not always possible.
If you can provide exact references, we can provide copies of items for a small charge (within copyright and document preservation restrictions). Simply email us with your copying request and we will provide a quote for the cost.
If you do not have exact references, we offer two different paid services:
This service can be useful if you wish to establish what material we have that is relevant to your research, and allows for some exploratory work without committing to a full research fee.
We charge £7.50 for up to 30 minutes' search time.
We can accept payment by either credit or debit card, either by telephone on 01332 642240 or online at Derby Direct to You. A small surcharge will be added if you choose to pay by credit card. Overseas payments can be accepted. Please ask staff at your bank on the best method to make overseas payments in pounds sterling.
A member of staff will conduct a search of our catalogues, indexes and other finding aids and provide you an indication of what we have searched and the relevant references we have found. Where a small number of references are found, we will provide a detailed list. Where large numbers of references are found, we will provide a general indication of the types of material and coverage they offer.
Once you know what is available, you may decide it is worth visiting in person to view the material. Alternatively you can request copies of specific items, or take up our research service.
Please make your catalogue search request as specific as you can. Accurate dates, locations and names are helpful and will improve our chances of success. Please include any additional information that you think may help, including sources you have already consulted and information you already have.
If you would like to go ahead with this service please complete, print and return the Local Studies Library - Catalogue Search Request Form with your payment to:
Derby Local Studies and Family History Library
If you do not have access to print facilities, you can write to us with your catalogue search request and payment.
We charge individuals £38.50 for an initial 60 minutes of research time. We charge commercial companies £75.00 for an initial 60 minutes of research time
We can accept payment by either credit or debit card, either by telephone on 01332 642240 or online at Derby Direct to You. A small surcharge will be added if you choose to pay by credit card. Overseas payments can be accepted . Please ask staff at your bank on the best method to make overseas payments in pounds sterling.
The charge covers 60 minutes of the researcher’s time. A search will be made using the resources held by the Library. Once the research has been completed, we will send you a reply indicating which sources we have checked and what relevant information has been found, quoting for the cost of any copies, where relevant.
Although every effort will be made to find the information for you, regretfully not every search is successful. As the charge is made to cover the staff time involved, we are not able to offer refunds.
Please make your research questions as specific as you can. Accurate dates, locations and names are helpful and will improve our chances of success. Please include any additional information that you think may help, including sources you have already consulted and information you already have.
If you would like to go ahead with this service please complete, print and return the Local Studies Library - Research Service Order Form with your payment to:
Derby Local Studies and Family History Library
If you do not have access to print facilities, you can write to us with your research questions and payment.
We have one of the UK's largest and oldest collections of printed and manuscript material relating to Derby and Derbyshire, originally formed from two outstanding private libraries.
The 7th Duke of Devonshire donated over 2,000 books and pamphlets from his private collection, which the Borough of Derby accepted in 1879. The second library, formed for the owner of a Derby printing company, Sir Henry Howe Bemrose, was acquired by public subscription in 1914. The Derby Free Library was extended to house these collections in 1914 and they inspired the Library Committee to make the topography and literature of Derbyshire an important speciality of the library service. These specialised collections have been built on ever since. Today we continue expanding on this wealth of local studies material, with the objective of representing all aspects of Derby and its communities.
We have over 60,000 items including publications by local authors, groups and societies. We also have specialist histories of Derby and Derbyshire and current council publications. Three catalogues and a superb index in the Study Room, provide access to this part of the collection.
We have a collection of approximately 3,500 broadsheets covering many subjects including religious events, church services, entertainment, race meetings and fairs. These date mostly from the 19th century and are all listed to help you with your search.
If your family has a long-standing connection with a particular village in Derbyshire or a particular Derby parish, you might find memorials in the local churchyard. The library holds a number of transcripts. For Local Authority Burials we have cemetery records for Derby available on microfilm.
We have statistical information for the county for 1801-1991, and the census enumerator’s returns for 1841 -1901 are available on microfilm. The enumerator’s returns cover the whole county and a village index and street index for Derby help make access easier. Name indexes are also provided for 1841, 1881 and 1891.
The Library has a small collection of Poll books for Derby, earliest 1710, and for Derbyshire, earliest 1734. We have electoral registers for Derby covering 1843-2009.
The General Register Office Index, previously called the St Catherine's House Index, is an index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales from 1837-2005. Available on microfiche.
A large number of local newspapers are available on microfilm dating from the 1720s through to present day. The library’s subject and name indexes, available in the Study Room, include many references to help you access newspaper articles. Local newspapers are a useful source for all kinds of historical projects from family trees to village, church, club and sporting histories.
This extensive range includes various Family Papers, Business and Company Records, Poor Law Records, Derby Borough Council Records, Title Deeds, Chap Books and many manuscripts items, all of which are included in the catalogues.
County maps date from 1577 and maps for Derby date from 1610. All scales of Ordnance Survey are represented including the 1880 first edition large scale for Derby and Derbyshire.
Microfilm copies and transcripts are available here. View a list of our holdings.
Coverage includes local society newsletters, parish magazines, local and family history and county magazines.
A collection of over 16,000 photographs, covers the whole county with special emphasis on Derby, dating from the late 19th century to the present. There is a significant collection of glass negatives dating from the 19th century, some by Richard Keene, the well-known Derby photographer. Card indexes to the collections are available and many of the images are now digitised and can be viewed on Picture the Past.
A number of rate books for Derby parishes beginning in 1840 and continuing up to the 1960s. These list owners, occupiers, addresses and the rateable value of the property.
Land tax records are available at Derby Local Studies Library on microfilm. These show lists of owners and occupiers with a description of the property. Hearth Tax returns for Derbyshire 1662-1670 have been printed and show names of residents in a particular parish with numbers and hearths.
A small selection of original local directories are available in the Study Room. However, there is a comprehensive coverage of directories on microfiche for Derby and Derbyshire from 1808 to 1977. After this date, telephone and other classified directories are available to help.
A search of the catalogues and indexes in the Study Room may lead you to other, less obvious, items to help with your research.
Derby Local Studies Library wants to hear from Derby people who have written articles, pamphlets, or books, taken photographs or produced video or sound recordings. The team at Local Studies are sure there are lots of creative people and historians out there who are producing material ideally suited for their new digital library. The material can be about Derby, or indeed any subject whether fact or fiction, if produced by a local person.
So if you’ve written about Derby or indeed if you’re a Derby person who has written anything that you are proud of, please download the Digital Library Submissions Form and return it, along with your work on CD-ROM to the Derby Local Studies Library.
If you are planning to visit then check the web site for the opening hours. Smaller files can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Digital Library submissions FAQ answers some common questions regarding submission and copyright.
If you have any more questions please email us at email@example.com.