How to Search the Catalogue

Not everything held by the archive is catalogued. Cataloguing is an ongoing process. At present about 90% of our archive collection is fully catalogued.

Searching the archive

Quick search

For a quick search, enter a word, words or phrase in the Find a record box on the Homepage. Click the Search button to see the Results list. You also can select one of the popular search buttons. If this produces a very large list of results you can used the Refine Search button to do an Advanced search instead and limit the results.

Advanced search

Use the Catalogue Search page to search by specific fields and refine your search.

Any Text

Any word, words or phrase entered in this box will find all instances of those words or phrase. It searches in all fields that contain textual information.

Reference Number

Use this box if you know the document reference, for example 'LABX/DA/9/1/12'. Do not put spaces between any elements of the reference.


Each record has a title which gives a basic description, for example 'Burial Rate Book'. Any word, words or phrase entered in this box will find a more limited list or results than the same search in the Any Text box.


This allows you to limit your search by date. It will show record with date ranges overlapping and close to your search. You can specify a single date, for example '1965'. You can search a range of dates, for example '1800-1805'. You can also search within a century, for instance, '15th century'.


You can use this to search for a word or words contained in the descriptions of records that have one. Not all records in the catalogue have a description.


Select from this list to search for records at a particular level in the catalogue. For instance, select 'Fonds' for a particular archive collection. Select 'series' to search for sections within a collection. Select 'item' to search for individual files within a collection.


Use this list to search for records of a particular format in the catalogue. For example, to view digital images of the postcard collection select 'Digital Image'. By not selecting a format your search result list will include records of all formats.

Refine Search Criteria

Some fields allow you to refine how you search. By putting terms in these sections, you can extend or narrow your searches. For example, searching With all the words 'Danson House' will only find records in which both words occur. Records with just the word Danson or House will be excluded. Searching for With at least one of the words 'Danson House' will find records that contain either or both of these words. You can search for With all the words 'Danson' and Without the words 'House' to exclude any records with the word House.

Wildcard search

The wildcard character * can be used in place of unknown letters in a word. They can be helpful when you don't know an exact spelling. For example, 'Histor*' will return History, Historical and Histories.

Exact Search with " "

To search for an exact phrase where the words appear adjacent to each other in the text, search for text with double quotation marks. For example, "Samuel Strickland".

Searching for people

People Search works the same way as the Advanced Search with some different fields. Search for names of individuals or organisations in the Person Name search field. Click on a Person Code it to see the full entry.

Searching for places

Place search also works the same way as the Advanced and People Search. To search for places, enter the name of either a building, street, town, borough or county into the Place Name search box. Click on a Place Code it to see the full entry.

The search results

Your search will take you to a Search result page listing the matching records. There is a Refine Search button you can use to change your search to get different results. If the column header of the table is underlined, for example Title, it is a link you can click to sort the results by that field. Depending on your type of search you have done, click on the Reference number (Ref No), Person Code or Place Code to see the full record view for that entry.

Full Catalogue View

When viewing a record, if it's reference number (RefNo) is an underlined link you can click it to see it's place in the archive. This Hierarchy Browser shows where the archive record or document fits into its collection, similar to a family tree. To see full descriptions of any of the records in the tree click on the reference number.

Viewing original records

The vast majority of records contained in the archive catalogue do not contain digital images of archive documents. To view these documents Contact Us to arrange a visit to the Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre. Some of our records are stored off-site, so we recommend you contact us in advance to ensure that we have the archives ready for you.

Can't find what you are looking for?

Visit our main Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre website for details of resources and services. Please Contact Us for further information or research requests.

Print Showcase

Photographic prints of the images and digital files of most images in the collection can be purchased.
Please contact us for further details.