Visit the archives service
Visiting Sandwell Community History and Archives Service
The Community History and Archives Service (CHAS) collects and preserves original archives and published material relating to the history of all of Sandwell. If you are interested in finding out more about local history or tracing your family tree, CHAS holds a vast wealth of material to help you.
Our public search room is based in Smethwick Library. Don't worry if you haven't visited an archive service before - our friendly staff will help you get started.
Where are we?
Sandwell Community History and Archives Service
We are delighted to announce that from November 1 our search room will return to our normal opening hours. These are Monday, Wednesday Friday and Saturday 10am – 4pm.
You will no longer be subject to any time restrictions when visiting us inside of these hours. It is also no longer necessary to book an appointment if you wish to visit, although we do recommend that you do so as P.C and Microfiche/film machine numbers are limited, and this will help you make the most of your visit.
For your safety and the safety of our staff, we encourage you to wear a face covering when in the search room and use the sanitising stations to clean your hands. The number of visitors that we can accommodate within in the Search Room will continue to be limited.
We also still require you to request original material for viewing at least 24 hours prior to your visit, to ensure that we can have it available for you to use. You must have either a valid CARN ticket or an Archives Card to view archive material. You can sign up for an archives card: If you do this, you must bring 2 forms of ID as listed so we can issue you your card.
If you wish to use one of our P.Cs then you will need a Library Card and PIN to log in, you can obtain this when you visit, at any Sandwell Library or join online.
Local Studies stock kept in the search room will be available to browse, but we may require prior notice to provide access to material stored elsewhere. You can search for titles on our online catalogue.
Please email archives service or call us on 0121 569 4985 if you wish to make an appointment and for more information.
Tel: 0121 569 4985
If you don't have one already, we can issue you with a free CARN reader's ticket, which is used in archive services around the country.
Please bring proof of your name, address and signature. A driving licence is ideal, but if you don't have one then we need to see something with a signature (e.g. a bank card) and an official letter sent to your home address (e.g. a utility bill).
Please be aware that we can get very busy, so we recommend that you book a place in advance.
We also need advance notice to serve some of our original records. If you would like to use original records, please contact us at least 24 hours before you come to make sure that you get the most out of your visit.
Can't visit us?
If you are unable to visit us then you can send us an enquiry by letter or email. You will receive an answer to your enquiry within ten working days. Questions about what records or information we hold will be dealt with free of charge. You can find out more about ordering copies or using our paid research service here.