Hairy cell leukaemia (HCL) is a rare, indolent chronic B-cell leukaemia accounting for approximately 2% of all adult leukaemias. The recent association of the BRAF p.Val600Glu (V600E) mutation in HCL makes it a valuable molecular diagnostic marker. We compared the ability of Sanger sequencing, fluorescent single-strand conformational polymorphism (F-SSCP) and high resolution melting (HRM) analysis to detect BRAF mutations in 20 cases of HCL consisting of four archival Romanowsky stained air-dried peripheral blood and bone marrow aspirate smears, 12 mercury fixed decalcified bone marrow trephine biopsies, three formalin fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) splenectomy samples and one fresh peripheral blood sample. DNA was amplified and BRAF mutation status determined by the three methods above. V600E mutation was identified in 94%, 89% and 72% of HCL cases by F-SSCP, HRM and Sanger sequencing, respectively. In one case, in addition to the p.Val600Glu mutation, a p.Lys601Thr (K601T) mutation was identified. DNA from archival slide scrapings, mercury-fixed and FFPE tissue can be used to identify BRAF mutations with high sensitivity, especially using HRM/F-SSCP. The V600E mutation can be used as a supplementary molecular marker to aid in the diagnosis of HCL and the presence of the mutation may provide a target for therapy.