Royal Naval Museum


RNM Reading Room

Rebound London Gazettes in the Reading Room

Front view of RNM Library


The Royal Naval Museum Library is situated within the Naval Base at Portsmouth, adjacent to the Museum and the Historic Dockyard, in a purposely refurbished eighteenth century navy storehouse, with environmentally controlled bookstore, and reading room with space for 24 readers. The Library was originally opened as a public resource in 1990 and moved to its present location in late 1997, re-opening in 1998.

The Library is an excellent resource for the study of British naval history including: naval biographies; social history; operational history; navigation; naval architecture; naval science; ship movement records 1856-1914 & WW2. The sources available can cater for academics, family historians or leisure students alike.

In addition, the Royal Naval Museum library works in partnership with the Admiralty Library, now situated elsewhere in the Naval Base,  which supplements our own collections with coverage in military history; naval science; technical and scientific works; naval law; medicine; gunnery; a large journal collection of British and foreign titles.

Reading Room resources

The Royal Naval Museum Library holds a variety of serial publications, the most important of which are available on open shelves in the Reading Room. These include

London Gazettes (1776 to 1986), Navy Lists (from 1797), Illustrated London News, Admiralty Fleet Orders, Annual Register amongst other standard serial and reference publications relating to naval history including Mariner's Mirror, Naval Review, Jane's Fighting Ships and the ODNB

In addition, other significant runs held in the stores are Army & Navy Gazette, Gentleman’s Magazine and selected Parliamentary Papers. We are now happy to announce that the bound volumes of The Times 1809-1986 are now available for public use again after several years of being unaccessible.

For further detailed information on the titles and runs held in the library, please look at the Genealogical sources and General historical sources information sheets or contact us.

Information Service

The Library also runs the Museum’s Information Service and currently answers over 3500 enquiries each year from the large range of published materials available in the collection.

The staff can also advise on alternative sources if the information sought cannot be located from the sources in the library. A range of information sheets, reading lists and ship information are also available. See our Online Information Bank for more information. (NB: Ship information sheets are not currently available online)

The Information Service pages give more details on how to make an enquiry.

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