Skip to main content

Local History

local History Reading Room

Contact and visitor information

Get information about how to get to the Local History Library, opening hours and the services available

Cockney Rebel


Find out about our next exhibition Cockney Rebels: Popular Music in Tower Hamlets, 1624-2003 launching on Thursday 20 June.

Featuring over a hundred rare items selected from the collections of Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, this exhibition explores how our borough and its people have inspired and shaped popular music, both locally and globally, over four centuries.

group of attendees for Black History Month event

What's On

Explore our current events, including our exhibition programme  

communities of liberation

Communities of Liberation

This is a historical research and public art project which aims to increase awareness of the long history of the African presence in the borough of Tower Hamlets.

the online catalogue

Search the Online Catalogue

This catalogue holds the collections held by Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives. The collections include an extraordinary range of original archival documents, books, pamphlets, periodicals, maps, photographs and films.


About our service

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives holds outstanding and unique resources for the study of the history of London’s world famous East End. 


Collections and Digital Resources

Our local history library covers a range of popular East End subjects. These include migration and communities, local industries and political movements. We also hold loads of photographs, press cuttings and rare publications.

Clearing debris of bomb damage at Matthew T.Shaw’s Engineering works

Image Library

Here you can browse some of our 36,000 images reflecting life in Tower Hamlets over the centuries.

free online resources

Free online resources

We have a range of free online resources including access to the Ancestry library and the British Newspaper Archive

children at local history event

Outreach and education

Explore our events which aim to engage people with the rich history of the East End through our collections.

local history newsletters

Local History Library & Archives newsletter

Be the first to hear the latest news and information coming straight from the Local History Library and Archive team with their regular newsletter.

walks pamphlets

Local History Walks

Discover the history of Tower Hamlets through led and self-guided walks