Idea Store - Local History & Archives
Local History & Archives
Reopening of Reading Room
We are pleased to announce that the Reading Room’s ornate plaster ceiling has been repaired and repainted after its partial collapse in January and that normal service will be restored as of Tuesday 20 September.
Readers can now view our archive collections, images, books, pamphlets, press cuttings, maps, periodicals on microfilm, electoral registers and trade directories without an appointment.
We would like to thank all our users for their patience during the refurbishment.
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.
|Monday||Open for exhibition only|
|Tuesday||10am - 5pm|
|Wednesday||9am - 5pm|
|Thursday||9am - 8pm|
|Friday||Open for exhibition only|
|Saturday*||9am - 5pm|
*First and Third Saturday of the month only
A ramp and lift have recently been installed and the building is now fully accessible to wheelchair users.
We have a Ground Floor Education Room. For further information visit the Local History Library Room Hire web page.
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
- Search the catalogue
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.
Search the catalogue
- 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.