Our expert staff and volunteers can undertake research on your behalf. We start by searching our 4000 books and 2 million archival records. We are happy to receive research requests by email. If you write us a letter, please enclose a stamped addressed envelope.

Free services

Our aim is to both conserve our unique collections and make them available for consultation. We offer many free services to genuine researchers:

  1. All users may search our online Archive catalogue, and examine images, free of charge.
  2. Access to our online Library catalogue of books and pamphlets is free without registration.
  3. Our online Mill People database is also free without registration.
  4. Simple research queries that are emailed to us and take less than thirty minutes to answer will be handled as rapidly as possible without charge, although we cannot guarantee to respond within a few days.
  5. Visitors who make an appointment will be able to inspect catalogued original documents, browse our Library and use our online catalogues at our Research Centre in Reading, all free of charge. Visitors will not be able to access our uncatalogued material.

Chargeable services

Where users find it inconvenient or impossible to conduct their own research we offer services which require payment in advance (see the table below). For each request our professional staff will conduct a 30-minute feasibility study at no charge to give a preliminary estimate of the likely time required.

If the work is likely to involve wide-ranging research beyond the holdings of the Mills Archive, we recommend the employment of contractors who specialise in such research, and we charge an introduction fee to provide suitable contact details of local researchers with the relevant experience. Otherwise, on receipt of the agreed fee, the work will be carried out by our experienced volunteers and professional staff.

Results will be emailed within the time frame specified*. Sources will be identified and advice will be given if further research on our holdings is likely to be useful. Irrespective of the initial feasibility study, there is no guarantee that research carried out by us will be productive.


Free feasibility* study & estimate

Results available* (after payment)

Fee payable to the Mills Archive

Research by Archive staff

2 days 2-3 weeks £60 per hour

Contract research

1 week

Negotiate with the contractor

£30 introduction fee

Research Reports

For an additional fee a formal research report can be commissioned based on the results obtained. This will set the results in context, including images as appropriate. Before release the report will be reviewed by relevant experts who may require the researcher to revise some details or carry out some further research at our expense.

Fees are negotiable. A typical 4-5 page report will cost £300 and be available 2 weeks* after the original research results become available.


Once we have conducted the 30 minutes of free research and provided an estimate of costs, you are at liberty to visit the Archive or appoint someone else to do so; such visits are free of charge. Where you wish us to do the additional research or have requested an introduction to an outside contractor, we will send you an invoice. All payments must be made before research can start.

UK customers with a British bank account may pay by cheque made payable to "The Mills Archive Trust". Alternatively you may pay by bank transfer using the bank details on our invoice. You may also pay by PayPal (in which case you should ask us for a PayPal invoice) or by using your credit card on our shop site. If you wish to pay by credit card, please let us know and we will send you instructions.

Please note that payments for research and subsequent reports are not refundable and we offer no guarantee that we shall find anything relevant beyond what would be stated in our initial estimate. Copyright charges may apply if the report or any images provided are published in any form.

Friends of the Mills Archive

Fees are reduced for Friends of the Mills Archive.

* As a small charity, we are dependent on the availability of volunteers, but we will use our best endeavours to keep within these time frames.