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. We cover the London Borough of Tower Hamlets which was created from the former Metropolitan Boroughs of Bethnal Green, Poplar and Stepney. Through an extraordinary range of original documents, images and reference books the collections document the changing local landscape and lived experiences of individuals and communities in Tower Hamlets.
Our Grade II listed library building dates from 1860 and is conveniently located in Mile End. The extensive local history library covers a vast range of popular subjects such as migration and communities, local industries and political movements and includes thousands of photographs and press cuttings as well as rare publications. Stored on hundreds of linear metres of mobile shelving in our climate-controlled strongroom, the archive collections are spread across a variety of formats, from medieval parchment to digital audio and video. For further details see our collections page.
If you’re interested in the history of a street or building, tracing your ancestors who lived in the borough, doing a school or college project or just feeling nostalgic, we’re here to welcome you.
- Search the catalogue descriptions of our library and archive collections
- Access original library and archive material in our Reading Room
- View our Digital Gallery of images
- Obtain copies of documents
- Explore Digital Resources
- Visit our shop for publications
- Enjoy exhibitions inspired by the collections
- Attend a range of events for all ages
- Book a workshop with us for your students, community or youth group
- Partner with us on heritage projects
- Hire our Ground Floor Education Room
- Help us build our collections by depositing books, documents and images
- Support our activities by volunteering with us
For our policies which provide details on our service, use the link in the menu on the right or below if using a mobile device.
Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives was awarded Accreditation in March 2018. Archive Service Accreditation is the UK standard for archive services and best practice.
Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ
Phone: 020 7364 1290