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.

Registration form [PDF]

Opening Times

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


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.