NGR facilities

BGS Data — National Geological Repository

The National Geological Repository (NGR) is located at the headquarters of the British Geological Survey, a few miles south of Nottingham.

By arrangement, BGS’s science facilities are available to NGR users, including:

  • confidential core-inspection bays
  • rock cutting, polishing, slicing, ‘plugging’ and crushing
  • thin section preparation, viewing and microphotography
  • core photography in a special studio by professional photographer
  • meeting rooms with projection facilities for workshops, etc.
  • access to view non-confidential well logs in digital and analogue formats
  • core and sample conservation laboratories
  • access to scanning electron microscopes, geotechnical and geophysical properties laboratories, and other analytical facilities at the BGS
  • scanning and copying bureau
  • on-site scanning facilities for analogue records
  • a dedicated team of staff to assist with accessing information on NGR data holdings
  • free WiFi
  • BGS restaurant

The BGS operates the largest core facility in the UK at Keyworth, Nottingham. It has recently been extended and now has space for over 18 000 pallets of drillcore and 80 000 trays of samples, weighing up to 10 000 tons.

Drillcore is usually held as metre-long sticks in boxes. Some of the older cores were broken up into individually registered specimens, frequently exhibiting the fossils used for dating the samples.

The collections contain over a million individual specimens. There are also extensive collections of ‘cuttings’ (rock fragments recovered from drilling).

Pallets of drillcore are retrieved using a forklift, which ensures they remain horizontal at all times.

Visiting the Core Store

Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown situation, the Core Store is closed until further notice.

The majority of borehole cores and samples are available for study and subsampling by bona fide academics and commercial companies. Copies of the regulations and access forms are available from the Core Store.

Commercial companies are charged for access; academics will need to complete an academic waiver form.

Boreholes may be selected using the GeoIndex or the borehole materials database.

The online database also provides information on available sample depths and types.

For all Core Store materials enquiries, including visitor bookings and available dates etc., please contact the Core Store.

The palaeontology and biostratigraphy collections are split between Keyworth and Edinburgh, with the former holding most of the English and Welsh material, and the latter the majority of the Scottish material. Most of the type, figured and cited material is stored centrally at Keyworth.

Find out more about our palaeontology andbiostratigraphy collections.

The present condition and future conservation needs of each specimen is assessed prior to preventive or remedial conservation practices taking place.

Using digital imaging and record keeping, the conservation history for each specimen is recorded.

We only practice up-to-date and reversible conservation methods to ensure continued accessibility for academic study.

Our work includes:

  • casts
  • cleaning of specimens
  • consolidation and repairs
  • efflorescence
  • minerals encompassing in resin blocks
  • purpose-made packaging
  • sub fossil bone
  • treatment for pyrite decay

The petrology collections are split between Keyworth and Edinburgh, with Keyworth housing most of the English and Welsh material, and Edinburgh the Scottish material. Several of the collections have been routinely sliced and thin sections prepared.

Find out more about our petrology collections.

The Core Store has a number of fully equipped workshops for all types of cutting, grinding, plugging and polishing. Initial enquiries should be made to the Core Store.

Get in touch

For general NGR enquiries or to arrange a visit, please contact: or 0115 936 3143

Dr Mike Howe, Chief Curator

Telephone: 0115 936 3105

Alison Fernie, Senior Records Manager

Telephone: 0131 6500 434

Andrew Morrison, Archivist

Telephone: 0115 936 3247

Sue Roper, Geo-Information Collections Co-ordinator

Telephone: 0115 936 3127


You may also be interested in

BGS Data -


The BGS is a data-rich organisation with over 400 datasets in its care.

Show more
BGS core store

National Geological Repository

The National Geological Repository holds our collections of borehole cores, cuttings, samples, specimens, and related subsurface information from the UK landmass and continental shelf.

Show more

Was this page helpful?

  • How can we make this section better?*

  • Please select a reason*

  • How can we make this section better?*