Local Heritage at Southwell Library


The Local Heritage section at Southwell Library is on the ground floor at the rear of the building with level access throughout.

A view of the Local Heritage area at Southwell Library

The Collection

The collection contains a range of material relating to Southwell and the surrounding area, with background material on Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands.

You will find resources to help you trace:

  •          History of local places
  •          Recent local developments
  •          Transport
  •          Local industries/businesses
  •          Social history
  •          Local politics
  •          Family history
  •          History of individual buildings

The book collection has over 500 volumes, including works by local authors, and standard works such as William Dickinson’s ‘History of Southwell’.

Some items are only available to be consulted in the library, but wherever possible we offer a loan copy of the title as well. The majority can be searched for on the library catalogue but some are not yet included. 

The Local Studies classification numbers can be used to find books on specific themes e.g. L90.2 Southwell is the reference for titles concerned with the history of the town in general, but topics such as Education in Southwell have a specific number – indexes are available and staff will be able to help.


Periodicals on the Local Heritage collection include:

  • The Nottinghamshire Historian
  • Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire (history and archaeology)
  • Parish magazines for many of the surrounding villages
  • East Midlands History and Heritage

The library has almost complete files of The Bramley local community newspaper.


 The library does not hold any local newspapers on microfilm. Articles relating to Southwell may be found in the Newark Advertiser on microfilm at Newark Library, where there is an incomplete card index.

There may be relevant articles in other titles accessible via the FREE subscription to the British Newspaper Archive available in Inspire Libraries and at Nottinghamshire Archives.
A list of Nottinghamshire titles in digital format on the British Newspaper Archive can be found here.

Trade Directories

The trade directories, covering the period from around 1830, give contemporary information about Southwell, including listings of local industries, and prominent people.

There is also wide coverage for Nottinghamshire directories in microfiche format

Local Government Information

The information about Local Govenment includes the minutes of Southwell Town Council.


Ephemera boxes have been compiled over many years containing news cuttings, leaflets and ephemera on local themes.

The Photograph Collection

The photograph collection includes around 400 images, covering the period from the 1850s to the 1980s.These are filed by theme and an index to the classification scheme is available.

Over 22,000 Nottinghamshire images have been digitised and are available on the Inspire Picture Archive.

Maps and Plans

Two sets of drawers, containing maps and plans, cover the period from the early 1800s. These include Ordnance Survey large scale 6-inch and 25-inch plans (plus metric equivalents) of the area from c.1880. Maps are available to browse. If you have a specific query about mapping please contact us direct via Ask Inspire.


Census Returns for Southwell and its neighbouring parishes, from 1841 to 1901, are available on microfiche, but the free access to Ancestry.co.uk in libraries and at Nottinghamshire Archives is often a more convenient way of searching for Census information.

Parish Registers

Parish Registers on microfiche cover Southwell (and surrounding parishes) from 1559 into the Twentieth Century (where they survive).

Bleasby, Bulcote, Burton Joyce, Caunton, Edingley, Farnsfield, Gonalston, Halam, Halloughton, Hockerton, Hoveringham, Kirklington, Lambley, Lowdham, Maplebeck, Morton, Norwell, Oxton, Thurgarton, Upton, Winkburn and Woodborough.

A microfiche reader and printer machine is provided

A separate familyhistory collection of some key titles to help with the process of researching family history is also available in general library stock. For help with specific enquiries please contact  Ask Inspire.

Archival Records

Archival records such as wills, diaries, original parish registers, business and personal correspondence etc. are held at Nottinghamshire Archives: 

County House
Castle Meadow Road
Email: archives@inspireculture.org.uk
Tel: 0115 9581634