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Local History - About us

Outstanding and unique resources

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 Tower Hamlets - a borough formed with the former Metropolitan Boroughs of Bethnal Green, Poplar and Stepney.

Through a 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 based in Mile End. The extensive local history library covers a vast range of popular subjects. Areas covered include migration and communities local industries and political movements.

There are 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. You can find out more on our collections page.

We're here to welcome you 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
  • nostalgia and more.