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Richard Burton Archives: How can we help?

Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg

How do I make an appointment?

Our reading room opening hours are as follows:

Tuesday 9.15am – 4.15pm
Wednesday 9.15am – 4.15pm
Thursday 9.15am – 4.15pm

All visits to the Archives are by prior appointment - please contact us at or 01792 295021. We ask that readers provide us with details of the materials they wish to consult at least three working days prior to visiting. 
The Archives office is open Monday to Friday for enquiries.

Further information about re-opening can be found here.

The Archives are on level 1 west of Singleton Park Library on the Singleton Campus of Swansea University (building 7, Map 4 on the campus plan).

If you can't find us, please ask at the Library information desk and a member of our team will come up to meet you.

Why do you have rules for the use of archives?

We want you to enjoy the experience of using unique and irreplaceable archival material. Whether it's a 15th century deed on parchment or a photograph from the 1980s, they all require careful handling. Some can be very fragile. If something is damaged it's very difficult (and sometimes impossible) to repair. We can't just buy a new one!

These documents are also authentic; as a researcher you need to be assured that they haven't been altered or added to falsely whilst in our custody.

We need your help in caring for these materials in order to protect, preserve and keep them accessible for future generations of researchers. This is why all archive reading rooms have a set of  simple rules for working with archival material, you can find ours on the link below.


Do I need to sign up for a Readers Ticket?

The Richard Burton Archives is part of the Archives and Records Association (ARA) Archives Card scheme and visitors will need to apply for a card in order to view archival material. The scheme gives you access to all participating archives across the UK.  

If you have previously been registered under the Archives Wales readers' ticket scheme, please be aware that this has closed and you will also need to apply for an Archives Card.  

To save time on arrival, we recommend that you start your registration online before your visit. If you have already been issued a card by another participating service, please bring the card with you when you visit. 

Find out more about the Archives Card and how to apply.  

Do you allow photography?

Self-service photography may be undertaken using a digital compact camera, tablet or mobile phone subject to the following Self Service Photography Guidance

We do have a reprographics service. You will be asked to complete a form which includes the reference number of the item(s) you would like a copy of and a statement about copyright.

Usually, for private study and non-commercial research, we can provide copies. However, please bear in mind, that if you intend to publish (including websites, social media etc), we would have to look into the copyright.

The current charge for non-commercial purposes/private study photocopying is £0.35 per sheet (A4 / A3), plus VAT (for educational purposes you will not be charged VAT).

A reproduction request may take a few weeks to prepare, especially if the documents are particularly fragile, or the copyright situation is complicated. Consequently, it is good to plan to get in any photocopy requests as soon as possible during or after your visit to the Archives in order to give us time to deal with it before your deadlines.

I'm interested in a career in archives, do you have any volunteering opportunities?

At the moment we don't run a formal programme of volunteering opportunities. We do sometimes have ad hoc student employability opportunities for certain projects. These would be advertised via our Twitter page @SwanUniArchives or the Swansea Employability Academy website.

We would be very happy to make an appointment for you to visit the Archives. We can give you a behind the scenes tour and explain the type of work we do, to give you a glimpse into a career as an archivist. 

For more information on where to look for volunteering opportunities, Archives and Records Association has produced a useful guide.

How do I find out what collections you have?

Check out our guide to collections here

Here's a list of our catalogues-

Why should I use primary sources?

  • They are contemporary with the events described; immediate, first hand accounts 
  • They provide evidence of what happened, usually created by the people involved
  • They will help develop your critical thinking skills
  • You can give you lecturer something new and interesting to read. Chances are that your lecturer won't know about many sources in the Archives so surprise them! (and then maybe even get a better mark*)
  • Archivists are on hand to help you find and use exciting material 
  • We're on your doorstep! Make the most of the resource

*we don't have proof that this works but it's worth a shot!

I'm stumped for dissertation ideas, can you help?

Yes, we'd love to! If you already have ideas about what subject you'd like to write about, drop us an email on and we'll get back to you with lists of sources (or suggestions of sources held elsewhere if we don't have anything of relevance).

For ideas about potential dissertation topics at this points, have a look at our research guides or collection overviews. They might just spark off some inspiration!

It's worth bearing in mind your location and opportunities when picking a dissertation topic. Does your topic require you to travel overseas? Do you have the time and funding to do this? If you can choose a topic where the primary sources are on your doorstep instead, you'll find organising your research much easier.