Local studies library

Woman looking through archive drawers Archives in Local Studies Library

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.

The primary local archive is at Wakefield Library and includes:

Local history books for loan or reference
Biographical and genealogical works
Study facilities
Free access computers
Microfilm readers with the latest technology*

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

Woman looking at archive newspaper scans on a computer Digital archives at the Library

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.

Northern history book and magnifying glass on top of a map Local studies history map


We 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 'What's On' guide.

Our History Digitisation Programmes

'Twixt Aire and Calder

Old photograph scan of buildings Vintage Photograph of towns

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.

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