Archives of Barbados

Yet another aspect of Barbados' heritage comes alive in the Department of Archives. Established by the Government of Barbados in 1963, this treasured entity of our heritage is housed in Black Rock, St. Michael, formerly the Lazaretto. The Archives of Barbados is the official repository for Barbados' records of enduring legal, cultural and historical value.


The creation of the Department of Archives resulted from a survey conducted in 1961 by the first Archivist, Mr. Michael J. Chandler (1964 - 1976), whose "Guide to the Records in Barbados" was the basis for the development of the collection.



The Archives Act governs the kinds of records received by the Department, which include a wide variety of items e.g. manuscripts, papers, letters, registers, reports, books, magazines, maps, charts, plans, drawings, pictures, photographs; machine readable records produced on paper or any other material except granite, officially received or produced in any public office in the course of official functions, including cinematograph film, recordings, tapes, discs, judicial records, office papers etc.


Records of private organizations and individuals are also received and stored in the Archives of Barbados.


The majority of the collection is stored in environmentally controlled buildings for long term preservation. It includes rare books of enduring value which cannot be easily replaced.


Archival Material

Most of the records in the Department are open to the public and can be accessed by filling out a "request slip" which is available from the archives keepers' desk. Some records are not available because they are too fragile to handle. These records are described as "closed" in the Class Lists, which are lists of the holdings of the Department.


Other records are closed for legal reasons, (eg. government files that are less than thirty years old), confidentiality (eg. hospital records) or because they are owned by private organisations or individuals who have the right to stipulate under what conditions they may be viewed.

Mission Statement

To ensure organisational efficiency and acccountability by identifying, collecting, processing and preserving public and private records of Barbados.


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