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Local History Library and Archives
Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ
Local History: 020 7364 1290
Fax: 020 7364 1292
All users are required to register with the service on their first visit. Please ensure you bring a form of ID providing proof of your permanent address.
Important Notice: Temporary Closure for Building Works
Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives is now temporarily closed to enable the restoration / replacement of the building's roof and the installation of a new lift. We will re-open on Tuesday 18 June 2013. We regret the inconvenience this is likely to cause to our users. We will be offering a limited remote enquiry service by telephone and email during our period of closure. We will endeavour to answer telephone enquiries Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am to 1pm and 2 to 5pm.
Search the collection
Local History Library
- Over 20,000 books and pamphlets dating from the 17th century to the present day
- Electoral registers for Tower Hamlets from 1901
- Trade directories from 1800
- Cuttings Collection which includes newspaper articles and printed ephemera
- 25,000 photographs and illustrations
- Over 2,000 maps and plans dating from 16th century to the present day
- Over 500 periodical titles, including local newspapers from 1841 on microfilm
- Local census returns from 1841 to 1891 and parish registers on microfilm
'Summary Guide to the Archive Collection' is available in a PDF format [33.03KB] [10 pages]
While there are substantial holdings of archives relating to the borough, much of Tower Hamlets material is deposited elsewhere (notably at the Greater London Record Office).
- Local authority records dating from the 16th century, including minutes, rate books and correspondence files
- Over 8,000 deeds recording the transfer of properties in the borough
- Documents relating to many local institutions
- Photocopying is allowed for much of the collection depending on copyright and physical condition
- Digital scans, subject to copyright, can be obtained; sizes and prices available on request
- An extensive range of informative publications are available for sale
We cannot, however, undertake detailed genealogical research on behalf of enquirers. Details of professional record agents can be obtained by contacting the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives.
We regret that there is no wheelchair access to the first floor reading room. Mobility-impaired users may view the collections in the ground floor education room by appointment - please call 020 7634 1290 or email email@example.com. On arrival, please press the buzzer as indicated and the entrance doors will open automatically.
Please accept our apologies for this inconvenience. Funding has been made available for a new accessible lift which will be installed in 2012.
Exhibition Hall - £50 per hour
Ground Floor Education Room - £25 per hour, includes use of projector, tables and 30 chairs.
There is a 50% discounted rate on room hire charges for charities, community and voluntary
groups in Tower Hamlets. For further information visit the Local History Library Room Hire web page.