Our collections

Documents, newspapers, maps, photographs, ephemera, and books all form part of the collections we look after that can help you discover more about the history, geography and people of Medway.

Local Studies collection

Our Local Studies collection includes published sources that can help you research topics such as the history of your house and street, local businesses, leisure activities, and local people including your own family. The type of material available includes:

  • books, including local histories, guidebooks and biographies
  • town and street directories, maps and plans
  • village and parish books and pamphlets
  • journals
  • local newspapers - on microfilm
  • electoral registers
  • photographs, prints and postcards
  • archive material which has been microfilmed or digitised, such as parish registers, Chatham Board of Health maps and tithe maps for Medway

You can find books and journals from the Local Studies collection by searching the Medway Libraries catalogue.

Archive collections

Archives are unique records that contain facts, evidence, data, and information. They are generally primary source material, rather than published or secondary sources (like newspapers or books), and they can take any format.

Within the archive collections at Medway Archives Centre you can find:

  • parish records for the Archdeaconry of Rochester - including records of baptisms, marriages and burials
  • records of Non-Conformist denominations
  • local authority records - of Medway Council and its predecessor authorities
  • maps and plans
  • Poor Law union records
  • local charity records
  • court records
  • records of the Dean and Chapter of Rochester
  • records of local businesses, organisations and associations.

Catalogued archive material can be searched or browsed on the Medway Council Heritage Services catalogue.

Some of our material is uncatalogued so if you cannot find what you are looking for please contact us.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

To view our collections you must pre-book your appointment.

Digital collections you can view from home

You can view records online via the Medway Council Heritage Services catalogue, including:

Medway Images includes a selection of photographs of the Medway area.

Films of Medway and Kent can be found at Screen Archive South East.

Digital material you can view free at Medway Archives Centre, Medway Libraries, or from home with a subscription 

Ancestry Library Edition

Due to the coronavirus restrictions Ancestry Library Edition is currently available from home to Medway Library card holders. Log in to your Library account and click on the link under ‘My Account’.

The following material from Medway Archives Centre is available via Ancestry:

Find My Past

Find My Past is only viewable at Medway Archives Centre. To view Find My Past you must pre-book your appointment

A selection of school admission registers and logbooks from 1870 to 1914 is available on Find My Past. Although you need a subscription to view these records on Find My Past, you can get to the landing page for this collection. The landing page includes a useful description of the records.

Other useful resources