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About us

Conservation of wax seal

At the Dorset History Centre we are 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 Record Office houses the archives of Dorset; ranging from Council records to personal collections, currently we house around 4,000 collections, search or contact us to find out more.

Search the library catalogue to view books held at the Local Studies Library.

What do we do?

  • Collect, preserve and make documents available documents, including paper, parchment and printed documents, audio-visual material, and digital records.
  • Care for, and carry out conservation work on documents in need of some TLC.
  • Provide copies of documents, including high quality prints
  • Organise and collaborate in 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 same building, and the Record Office became the Dorset History Centre.

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