Local studies library

Librarian checking archives 

All libraries hold information relating to their communities and on Yorkshire in general.  There are large local studies collections are available at Pontefract, Castleford and Ossett libraries. 

Archivist viewing historical documentsThe primary local archive is at Wakefield Library and includes:

  • Local history books for loan or reference
  • Biographical and genealogical works
  • Pamphlets
  • Journals
  • Ephemera
  • Newspapers*
  • Photographs
  • Study facilities
  • Free access computers
  • Microfilm readers with the latest technology*

    *See the downloads section for comprehenisve lists of the local newspaper titles available on Microfilm and in paper copy.

You are welcome to drop in and find out you can further your interest in the Wakefield District or the wider Yorkshire area, or how to get started with your family tree.  There is a vast array of free family history resources available for to use in each of our libraries, including free access from library computers to the popular databases www.ancestry.co.uk and www.findmypast.co.uk.

You can also find lots of information about the region at the West Yorkshire Archive Service which is located at:

WYAS, Wakefield Office
West Yorkshire History Centre
127 Kirkgate
Email: wakefield@wyjs.org.uk
Tel: 0113 5350142

Using the Collections

Catalogues and indexes are available for the larger collections and staff are happy to offer advice and assistance, although please bear in mind that they are unable to undertake detailed research on behalf of individuals.  See the downloads section for a list of some local researchers.


Map magnifying glass and bookWe always welcome donations of materials, specifically:

  • Local interest books
  • Manuscripts
  • Theses
  • Maps
  • Local research
  • Illustrations
  • Videos
  • Films
  • Sound recordings
  • Ephemera

Activities and Events

If you or your group are involved in, or are interested in any aspect of local or family history, please get in touch. Exhibitions, talks, visits and other related events occur regularly throughout the year.  Browse the 'Whats On' guide.

Our History Digitisation Programmes

'Twixt Aire and Calder

Howcroft post office and chemist
A free online archive using unique local studies material held by Wakefield Libraries, individuals and local groups. This material is accessible to everyone and provides an innovative and stimulating way of presenting the district's heritage.

We Will Remember Them

Fabric PoppiesA unique online archive describing the lives of people from across the Wakefield District who served their country in the great twentieth century conflicts, highlighting the momentous effect that war had on families and local communities.

The stories in the archive have been researched and written by local people and family historians whose ancestors lived in the area.

Contact us

Local studies enquiries
01924 305 356