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About the Dorset History Centre

Conservation of wax seal

The Dorset History Centre is dedicated to preserving, sharing and celebrating the rich heritage of Dorset.

Who are we?

The Dorset History Centre brings together two services - the Dorset Record Office and Dorset County Local Studies Library:

The Dorset History Centre houses the archives of Dorset ranging from Council records to personal collections, search our online catalogue Search the library catalogue or contact us to find out more contact us. You can search the Dorset Local Studies Library catalogue Search the library catalogue to find out more.

What do we do?

  • Collect, preserve and make documents available to view; these include paper, parchment and printed documents as well as audio-visual material and digital records.
  • Care for, and carry out conservation work on documents if necessary.
  • Provide copies of documents, including high quality prints
  • Support projects relating to history and heritage in Dorset.


The Dorset Record Office was founded in 1955 and originally based at County Hall in Dorchester. Its collections expanded considerably and in 1991 the centre moved to purpose-built offices and strong rooms on Bridport Road. Since 1997, we have operated as a joint service for Bournemouth Borough Council (opens in a new window), the  Borough of Poole (opens in a new window) and Dorset County Council.

In 2005 the County Local Studies Library was moved to the Record Office which was renamed the Dorset History Centre.

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