Archives in London

Local authority archives and local studies libraries in London

Whether you are interested in finding out about the history of your local area or have been inspired to research your family tree, London’s archives and local studies collections are a good starting point. Their collections include:

Local history materials, especially the administrative history
Books, maps, photographs and other images, news cuttings and local newspapers
Directories and census returns
Special collections relating to particular businesses, institutions or families

all of which is useful for those interested in family history, tracing the history of their home or other buildings and much more. These collections are freely open to the public, although you should check opening hours before you set out to visit and in some cases an appointment may be necessary.

Below is a list of all the council run archives and local studies collections in London or take a look at BBC History family history pages for London to find more information and tips.

Other services in London

ARCHON has details of all UK archive repositories, with contact details, a link to the relevant website and an outline of the scope of the collections. The page for London archives can be found here

The HELPERS website is an online guide for family and local historians researching London University Library collections

The British Library family history service offers help with your research and India Office collections are held at the British Library

Out There is a portal hosted by The National Archives and developed with London Metropolitan Archives for people interested in researching LGBT – Lesbian Gay and Transgenered People’s – history

More information about local studies collections in London can be found on the Libraries and Learners in London pages