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What's On

 A necessary fiction
5 October 2017 - 20 January 2018
Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
A new exhibition of artwork by ceramicist Basil Olton exploring the untold history of anti-imperialist black activism in interwar London. The work is inspired by Chris Braithwaite, also known as Chris Jones, a resident of Stepney, trade unionist and founder of the Colonial Seamen’s Association who worked and organised in the East End during the 1930s and 1940s. See the full programme of events.

Explore your Archive

Join us for a programme of FREE events during the week commencing 20 November, hosted as part of the annual Explore Your Archive campaign, which aims to showcase the best of archives and archive services in the UK and Ireland. To find out more, visit
Explore Your Archive: Introduction to the Archives
Want to visit the archives but not sure where to start? If so, come along to one of our free introductory sessions, during which we’ll give you a tour of our reading room and explain how to search for relevant material using our online catalogue and subject guide. Sessions last approximately 30 mins and booking is required. Please call 0207 364 1290 or email to reserve your place.
Tuesday 21 November: 10.30am
Wednesday 22 November: 10am
Wednesday 22 November: 3pm

Explore Your Archive: Spitalfields Walk
Friday 24 November, 10am-12 noon

Join archivists Malcolm Barr-Hamilton and Shahera Begum for this walk exploring the history of Spitalfields, inspired by material from the archives. Free, booking required. Please call 0207 364 1290 or email to reserve your place.

Explore Your Archive: Spitalfields Collections
Friday 24 November, 2:00 - 4:00pm

Browse a range of library and archive material relating to the fascinating history of Spitalfields, from the 1600s onwards, including maps, photographs and the newly catalogued Spitalfields  Project papers. Active during the 1970s and 80s, the Spitalfields Project coordinated the activities of local organisations and provided additional funding in order to tackle deprivation. It is a wonderful resource for a pivotal period in Spitalfields’ history. This session is free and no booking is required – just turn up!

East End History Club
Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Are you interested in the history of London’s East End? If so, come along to one of our FREE drop-in sessions. You’ll have the chance to browse through old photographs, maps, newspapers and archival documents relating to a range of popular subjects, such as housing, health, immigration, work, school, leisure and much more! These sessions are ideal for those who are curious about local history and want to find out more. There’s no need to book, just drop in. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. Suitable for adults and children (11+).

Upcoming dates:

Saturday 2 December 2017, 2:00 - 4:00pm
Saturday 3 February 2018, 2:00 - 4:00pm
Saturday 17 March 2018, 2:00 - 4:00pm

Online exhibition
We are pleased to report that a new online exhibition is now available. From Town Hall to Local History Library & Archives: a short history of our service and premises, 1861-2015 is based on research undertaken for last year's 50th anniversary celebrations of the borough.

If you've ever wondered about the history of our Grade 2 listed building here on Bancroft Road, these web pages will reveal all.

Local History Library & Archive Newsletter