Idea Store - Local History & Archives

Local History & Archives

Temporary closure of Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives Reading Room

Due to an issue with the decorative plasterwork ceiling of our reading room it is not safe for anyone to access to this room at present. We are working to get this situation resolved as soon as possible but unfortunately, as a safety precaution, our first floor reading room must be closed until the room is declared safe to access.

Update: 20 January 2016
A full survey of the ceiling by a plasterwork specialist is being undertaken along with proposals for a temporary solution to make the room safe so that we can reopen to the public as soon as possible. We currently expect to be closed for a minimum of three weeks while contractors carry out this work.

Our exhibition and events take place on the ground floor and these are going ahead as normal.

We apologise for the inconvenience caused during this emergency closure period. Staff are responding to enquiries made by email and phone but please do bear in mind that many of the resources we would need to consult to respond to them are inaccessible.

Please sign up to our e-newsletter or follow us on Twitter for the latest updates on our reopening.

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ

Phone: 020 7364 1290


All users are required to register with the service on their first visit. Please fill in the form below and bring it along with a form of ID providing proof of your permanent address.

Registration form [PDF]

Opening Times

Monday Closed
Tuesday 10am - 5pm
Wednesday 9am - 5pm
Thursday 9am - 8pm
Friday Closed
Saturday* 9am - 5pm





*First and Third Saturday of the month only


Disabled access

A ramp and lift have recently been installed and the building is now fully accessible to wheelchair users.

Room Hire

We have a Ground Floor Education Room. For further information visit the Local History Library Room Hire web page.


Local History Library


The archive collections include the records of Tower Hamlets Council and its predecessor governance bodies (dating from the 16th century) - for example minutes, rate books and correspondence files. Other notable collections include more than 8000 title deeds recording the transfer of properties in the borough, and documents relating to many local institutions and prominent individuals.
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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.