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Visitor Information

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives will reopen from 13 April 2021. This will be on Tuesdays and Fridays for pre-booked visitors only. Access will be in line with government national regulations.

Visit our what's on page for online events. See our free online resources for material you can access from home. Keep updated on changes to our services, subscribe to our newsletter.

Pre-book an appointment to consult collections in our Reading Room

Appointments are subject to availability and local and national government announcements.

We re-open Tuesday 13 April 2021. You are welcome to book a Tuesday or Friday appointment. Appointment times are:

Morning: 11am-1.30pm
Afternoon: 2pm-4.30pm

  • We will allocate spaces on a first come, first served basis. Up to 2 people per household can attend each appointment.
  • Explore our research guides and collections catalogue
  • Complete a document order form and email it to
  • From 13 April 2021 our telephone 020 7364 1290 will be answered during our opening hours. 
  • There is no access without a confirmed pre-booked appointment. Please do not attempt to visit without an appointment as you will be turned away. 
  • Do not book or attend your appointment if you have COVID-19 symptoms or live with someone who does. Please consult Government guidance.


What we need from you

  • Before you book an appointment, explore our research guides and search our collections catalogue.These will help you identify the items that you want to look at. If you’re not sure what to choose, email us the details of your query in good time. We will help you identify which material will be most useful.
  • You can order up to 10 items in advance. We may be able to make further material available to you on the day. This is subject to staff capacity and time remaining before the end of your appointment.
  • Complete a document order form and email it to
  • Complete and return your form by email at least 7 calendar days in advance of your visit. This will help us ensure your pre-ordered items will be ready for you. 
  • We will confirm your appointment after you return your completed form. The form must include exact reference numbers of the items you intend to consult. 
  • You can book up to two appointments per calendar month. We have set a limit to ensure there are enough available slots for everyone who might wish to use the collections. This limit will be reviewed after the first two months of reopening.
  • We will accept bookings for up to two people where individuals are from the same household. Please let us know when you make your booking.
  • Due to social distancing, only one PC and one microfilm/fiche reader will be accessible. Please specify if you expect to use one or both during your appointment.
  • If you are unable to attend your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible. This will enable us to offer your slot to someone else. 
  • If you decide not to attend without notice or reason, we may be unable to book you a further appointment.
  • If you have not already registered as a user, we will ask you to complete our registration form. Bring it to your appointment along with your ID (proof of permanent address).


How we are keeping you safe

The safety of our visitors and staff is paramount.

  • We’ve limited the number of appointments to ensure social distancing. There will be no more than six people at a time (two staff plus up to four members of the public) in the Reading Room. 
  • Each appointment includes a table positioned at least 2m from the surrounding tables. The helpdesk is fitted with a Perspex screen. 
  • All visitors in Archives and Libraries must wear face coverings, except for those with medical exceptions. Face coverings must always be worn over the nose and mouth. This includes when consulting material. 
  • We may ask you to wear nitrile gloves, which we will provide. Disposable masks will also be available on request.
  • Reading Room staff will also wear face coverings.
  • Items produced for use by a reader will be quarantined for the next 72 hours, in line with UK government guidance.
  • Tables, chairs and equipment will be cleaned by staff between slots.
  • Signage will guide you through the building and remind visitors of social distancing measures. 
  • Hand sanitiser will be available.
  • Toilet facilities on ground floor will be available. Disinfectant wipes are provided for visitors to wipe surfaces before and after use. 
  • Track and Trace: we will collect relevant personal contact data on arrival from all visitors. This will be shared with the relevant authorities as required. Please see Government regulations.

How can I reach Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives?

Local underground and National Rail stations (external link) are open and bus services are running.

map of the area (external link)

By public transport

Nearest tube: Stepney Green (5-minute walk)

Bus Routes: 25 and 205 along Mile End Road

By car

There are a limited number of pay and display parking spaces in the surrounding roads as well as parking spaces for Tower Hamlets resident's permit holders.

Disabled access
Our building has a ramp and lift and is accessible to wheelchair users.

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ
Phone: 020 7364 1290


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accredited archive service logoTower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives was awarded Accreditation in March 2018.