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Music in Tower Hamlets

The people of Tower Hamlets have always appreciated a good tune, from Music Hall favourites to Grime anthems. The borough's musical history has been shaped by the experiences of the working class and migrant populations of the East End. This guide is an overview of collections that help trace the musical heritage of the borough. Explore biographies of musicians, archived recordings, records of organisations and venues, and other material.

The books, images, pamphlets and cuttings in our library collections hold a wealth of information that can shed light on the continuing history of music in Tower Hamlets. Here are some useful library classification numbers to start your research with:

680.6: Musical instruments
780: Music (general)
780.1: Songs with local settings, street songs and cries
780.2: Bands, orchestras, pop groups, street musicians
780.3: Choirs, choral and operatic societies
780.4: Music concerts, festivals, concert halls
780.6: Associations, harmonic societies, music societies
781: Religious music
792: Public entertainments
795: Music halls
810.2: Educational music, dancing, festivals
850.33: Libraries – Music Library

For others, please consult our subject and classification guides which can be downloaded here.

Please also see some of our other user guides which may be helpful in researching the history of music in the borough.


Local newspapers

Issues of The East London Advertiser from the 1960s to 1980s featured a pop music page with record reviews and interviews with artists hailing from or playing in the borough; there were also many advertisements for venues and pubs hosting live music which list the bands appearing. We hold both microfilm and bound copies the newspaper from the mid to late 20th century, which can be consulted in our Reading Room.

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives’ Sound collection contains a wide range of audio recordings on a variety of analogue and digital formats. These include:

• coarse groove shellac records
• microgroove vinyl records
• open reel tapes
• cassette tapes
• compact discs

As much of the material in this collection is on old media not all of it is currently accessible, however plans are in place to create digital access copies.

We hold around fifty music recordings in the sound collection. To find them on our online catalogue:

1. Go the Advanced Search page
2. Enter ‘lcs*’ in the Reference Number Field
3. Enter ‘music’ in the Subject Keyword field
4. Hit the search button

Some musical genres represented in the collection include:

• Folk and traditional music – including Yiddish folk, sea shanties
• ‘World’ music
• Classical and religious music – including choral performances at local churches
• Blues and jazz
• Music hall and ‘pub music’
• Pop and rock
• Music by East End organisations or on local themes

Many of our musical recordings are extremely rare and unavailable online. To find out more contact us at

For more information and a selected list of musical recordings, please see our Sound Collection user guide.

We hold a variety of items in both our library and archive collections that relate to the many different genres of music played and enjoyed within the borough by its diverse communities. Here are a few examples:


P/ULL/4/4: 'Bengali Info: Young People Magazine' 1998-2006. Archive.

Magazines published by Swadhinata Trust. Initially the magazine was published by the Nirmul Committee. The magazine aimed at Bengali young people to inform them about community issues, career, youth culture-fashion, music, poetry, literature and Bengali history. Issues 13-14 (Mar 1998; Mar 1999 Independence Day Issue); Issue 3 (Mar 2000).

I/SPP/4/9/5: Bangladesh Music and Drama Society, 1982. Archive.

Letter from Bill Blair, Spitalfields Project Co-ordinator, to the Bangladesh Music and Drama Society regarding application for membership to the Spitalfields Committee.

LC194: The Arts Worldwide Bangladesh festival, 7-25 July 1999. Pamphlet.

Programme for the festival which aimed to promote understanding of the culture of Bangladesh. It included traditional singers, storytellers and dancers, as well as food and contemporary poetry, cinema, music, textiles, and paintings.

Chinese and Vietnamese

I/THI/B/15/1/1: Gor Hoi Festival Production papers 1984-1987. Archive

Includes photocopies of typed and handwritten music, lyrics/verse, and prose/diary entries, and transcript (not verbatim) from taped performances at St Matthias Centre (17 July 1986). I/THI/B/15/1/1 Includes photocopies of typed and handwritten music, lyrics/verse, and prose/diary entries, and transcript (not verbatim) from taped performances at St Matthias Centre (17 July 1986).

Images of musicians from the Chinese community can be found at class mark 410.


S/THO/2/14: Correspondence re Old People's Choir Festivals 1954 – 1965. Archive.

Correspondence of the Stepney Old People's Welfare Trust re the London Council of Social Service, Old people's Choir Festivals.

W/SGG/B/2/17: Choir Register, St Georges German Lutheran Church, c. 1920 – 1933. Archive.

LC11421: The Bow and Mile End Harmonic Society, 1852. Rule book and list of patrons. Pamphlet.


LCP00269: Spitalfields festival, 1987-2004. Serial.

Programme for the Spitalfields Festival, an annual festival of classical music performances. Tower Hamlets Local History Library has an incomplete set of this periodical.

LC5943: Far From the Fashionable Crowd: The People's Concert Society and music in London's suburbs by Alan Bartley. Book, 2009.

History of the many organisations that brought classical music to the working classes of the time and music by the great composers being given a reception by East-End audiences that amazed contemporary writers and commentators.

L6126: Report of the Committee appointed by the governing body to investigate recent criticisms of the Centre, 1964. Book , 1964.

Annex II is the "Bridges report" which led to the setting up of the London Opera Centre. The Centre was housed in the old Troxy Cinema.


LC14774: Grime kids: The inside story of the global Grime takeover by DJ Target. Book.

LC15175: Teklife, Ghettoville, Eski: The sonic ecologies of black music in the early twenty-first century by Dhanveer Singh Brar. Book, 2018.

"How black electronic dance music makes it possible to reorganize life within the contemporary city” Closely analysing… the Grime scene in East London… Brar pays attention to the way each of these critically acclaimed musical projects experiment with aesthetic form through an experimentation of the social.”

LC14786: Inner City Pressure: The story of Grime by Dan Hancox. Book, 2018.

Drawn from over a decade of in-depth interviews and research with all the key MCs, DJs and industry players, in this extraordinary book the UK's best grime journalist Dan Hancox tells the remarkable story of how a group of outsiders went on to create a genre that has become a British institution.


LC11409: Jazz Lunarcy at the Half Moon Theatre: Docklands Jazz Festival 10-15 December 1987, music programme. Pamphlet.

P/GRS/1/6: Jazz Bands represented by Greenstock. Archive.

One photograph of 'AL BERLIN and his Boys' and three photographs of "Sidney Chasid and Boy's (sic)".

LC13658: Stan Getz's East End roots by Peter Gardner. Pamphlet.


LC14692: Whitechapel Noise: Jewish immigrant life in Yiddish song and verse, London 1884-1914 by Vivi Lachs. Book, 2018.

LCS203: Whitechapel Mayn Vaytdshepl by Klezmer Klub. Digital audio disc and 10-page booklet. CD.

LCF00636 / LCF00638 / LCF00637 / LCF00639: Songs Anthology volumes 1- IV by Majer Bogdanski. Books, 2003.

Scores, partly for voice and piano, partly unaccompanied melodies. Includes transliteration guide. Yiddish (Romanized) words; printed as text in Yiddish with English translations.

Religious Music / Music performed at religious venues

LC11422: Poplar and Bow Wesleyan Mission Circuit Eisteddfod programme and timetables, 1920-1951. Pamphlet.

LCP00252: St John on Bethnal Green arts and music festival, 1996-1998. Serial.

Souvenir programme for the St John on Bethnal Green arts and music festival. Tower Hamlets Local History Library has an incomplete set of this periodical. We hold 3 issues only.

Rock & Pop

LC15373: The Stepney Sisters by Nony Ardill. Digital publication, 2011.

History of the all-female 1970s feminist rock band the Stepney Sisters, written by the band's guitarist.

LC14943: Church and Estate on Bromley Marsh by Andrew Wilson. Book, 2018.

Includes information on St. Nicholas Church, Aberfeldy Street, which in the 1970s served as a vinyl record shop and hosted Iron Maiden’s first professional gig.


LCS201: The new Somali sound. Audio CD + 1 booklet with colour illustrations. CD + booklet.


LC15286: Irish London: A cultural history 1850-1916 by Richard Kirkland. Book, 2022.

Kirkland makes resonant cultural connections between Irish and cockney performers in the music halls.

World music

S/CSG/4/3/2: Grand Union Orchestra: 'Undream'd Shores'. November 2014. DVD.

Extracts of a live performance at Hackney empire. Digital copy to be uploaded, contact staff as to updates on access.

Explore biographical materials on musicians, composers and other musical personalities from Tower Hamlets in our library collections. class marks 100 (individuals) and 100.1 (collected). Examples are:

Collected biographies

LC5892: London History: 100 faces of the East End by John Rennie. Book, 2011.

Contains biographical sections on Marie Lloyd, Lionel Bart, Daniel Farson, Steve Marriott, Ronnie Scott, Peter Green, Helen Shapiro, Peter Grant, Billy Ocean, Jah Wobble, John Newton, The Blind Beggar.

LC6738: Tower Hamlets' Talents: a select booklist about people living in Tower Hamlets in the twentieth century, compiled by Roger Harris. Pamphlet.

Lionel Bart

Composer (Stepney)

LC5892: London history: 100 faces of the East End by John Rennie. Book, 2011.

LC11403: Lionel: a musical created from the works of Lionel Bart, composer, London E1 / New London Theatre, 1977. Theatre programme. Pamphlet.

LCX00116: Baron-Bartlett: cuttings and ephemera on biography.

LC15275: East End Jews and left-wing theatre: Alfie Bass, David Kossoff, Warren Mitchell and Lionel Bart by Isabelle Seddon. Book, 2021.

LC15423: Fings ain't wot they used t'be : the Lionel Bart story by David & Caroline Stafford. Book, 2011.

Georgia Brown (Lilian Claire Klot)

Singer and actress (Whitechapel)

LCX00137: Brooker-Bryce: Cuttings and ephemera on biography.

Al Burnett (Alfie Isaacs)

Impresario (Mile End)

L1640: Knave of Clubs: an autobiography by Al Burnett. Book, 1963.

The memoirs of a leading impresario and entertainer. Al Burnett was born Alfie Isaacs in Clark Street, Mile End.

James Andrew Clark

Musician (Poplar)

P/CLA: Papers of James Andrew Clark (1868-1914) of Poplar and family, c 1900 – 1940. Archive.

Papers of James Andrew Clark (1868-1914) of Poplar and family, mainly relating to Clark's activities as a semi-professional cornet player. Includes programmes, photographs and other papers.

Maxine Daniels (Gladys Lynch)

Jazz Singer in The Humphrey Lyttleton band, sister of entertainer Kenny Lynch (Stepney)

LCX00163: Custard-Daniels: Cuttings and ephemera on biography.

Dizzee Rascal (Dylan Mills)

Grime music pioneer, member of Roll Deep Crew (Bow)

LC14899: Tales from da corner by Dizzee Rascal and Alex Kitts. Book, 2011.

LC14898: Bonkers: The story of Dizzee Rascal by Paul Lester. Book, 2010.

LCX00173: Dickel-Donovan: Cuttings and ephemera on biography.

Sir Balthazar Gerbier

Sir Balthazar Gerbier was an architect who opened an academy in Bethnal Green in 1649 to teach music, dancing and 'declamation', despite the Puritan restraints of the time

LCX00188: Sir Balthazar Gerbier: cuttings and ephemera on biography.

P/MIS/143/1: Letter from B. Gerbier to C. Hughens, Private Secretary to the Prince of Orange, at the Hague; Addressed from Paris; text in French, 1648. Archive.

Various images can be found at class mark 100.

Peter Green

Guitarist & singer, founder of Fleetwood Mac (Bethnal Green)

LCX00194: Grant-Gregory: Cuttings and ephemera on biography.

LC15390: Peter Green: Founder of Fleetwood Mac by Martin Celmins. Book, 2022.

Jah Wobble (John Wardle)

Bass player in Public Image Limited, Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart (Whitechapel)

LC8609: Memoirs of a Geezer: The autobiography of Jah Wobble: Music, mayhem, life by Jah Wobble. Book, 2009.

LCX00333: Cuttings and ephemera on biography.

Kenney Jones

Drummer in Small Faces, The Faces and The Who (Whitechapel)

LC14690: Let the Good Times Roll: The autobiography by Kenney Jones. Book, 2018.

Mike Laskey (Michael Jon Laskey)

Musician and songwriter, Tower Hamlets resident

LCS204: England Fair: A tribute to Mike Laskey. CD + booklet.

Double CD collection of songs performed by local singer-songwriter Michael Jon Laskey, composed by Michael and his brother Stephen between roughly 1975 and 2000, includes a booklet with biographical notes on his life.

John Newton

Composer of the hymn "Amazing Grace", Wapping

LC190: The Life of John Newton by Richard Cecil, edited by Marylynn Rouse. Book, 2000.

LC15140: London, Metropolis of the Slave Trade by James A. Rawley. Book, 2003.

Chapter 7 is a biographical study of Newton concentrating on his transformation from a former slaver to abolitionist

Billy Ocean (Leslie Sebastian Charles)

Singer and songwriter (Whitechapel)

LCX00263: Newton-Ocean: Cuttings and ephemera on biography.

Ronnie Scott (Ronald Schatt)

Jazz saxophonist, jazz club owner (Aldgate)

LC6699: Let's Join Hands And Contact The Living: Ronnie Scott and his Club by John Fordham. Pamphlet

LC5892: London History: 100 Faces of the East End by John Rennie. Book, 2011.

LCX00290: Scott-Scrutton: cuttings and ephemera on biography.

Helen Shapiro

1960s Singer (Bethnal Green)

LCX00293: Sexton-Sheppard: Cuttings and ephemera on biography.

LC5892: London history: 100 Faces of the East End by John Rennie. Book, 2011.

Suresh Singh

Drummer for 1970s punk band Spizzenergi, author (Spitalfields)

O/IND/5: Suresh Singh. Archive.

Two CDs containing the oral history interview recordings with Mr. Suresh Singh and hard copy summaries of the interviews.

LC14806: A Modest Living: Memoirs of a Cockney Sikh by Suresh Singh; recipes by Jagir Kaur; photographs by Patricia Niven. Book, 2018.

Suresh Singh tells the candid and sometimes surprising story of his father Joginder Singh who came to Spitalfields in 1949.

SNG: Digital images of photographs by Suresh Singh, including of himself and family. Digital images.

Queenie Watts (Mary Spenton)

Singer and actress, landlady of The Iron Bridge Tavern (Poplar)

LCX00326: Watts, Queenie: Cuttings and ephemera on biography.

IHT/p0278: Strattondale Street. Image.

1935 Jubilee party in Strattondale Street, outside the house of Mrs Spenton (Queenie’s mother).

Wiley (Richard Kylea Cowie)

UK Garage and Grime musician, member of Roll Deep Crew (Bow)

LC14582: Eskiboy by Wiley. Book, 2017.

Our library collections hold a selection of musical scores and song collections. There are also programmes of local events and concerts.

Sheet music and song books

LC159: Francis & Day's album of cockney songs. Book.

L1376: Ballads - collected and arranged by Cecil J. Sharp. Book.

Includes the words and music of "The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green".

L1150: The Blind Beggar's Daughter: A ballad opera for young people of all ages: vocal score. Book, 1953.

Story by Sheila Bathurst based on the traditional ballad; the libretto by Sheila Bathurst and Geoffrey Bush; music by Geoffrey Bush.

LC1204: Limehouse Blues sung by Teddie Gerard; words by Douglas Furber; music by Philip Braham. Pamphlet.

LC11388: The Ballad of Jack the Ripper and other great Cockney songs vol. 1. Pamphlet.

LC11390: Two Trumpet Volunteers by John James. Sheet music for organ. Pamphlet.

John James was organist at St George-in-the-East in the 1700s.

LC11389: Limehouse Wharf for voice and piano-forte by H.V. Jervis-Read, words by Adrian Heard, 1921. Pamphlet.

LC11391: Six Pedal Fugues (of which five are upon English Psalm tunes) for organ by Elizabeth Stirling, 1984. Pamphlet.

Elizabeth Stirling was organist at All Saints, Poplar from 1839-1858.

LC11407: A Selection of Camp Songs suitable for Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs by Rose L. Henriques. Pamphlet.

LC11406: Camp Songs, Oxford & St. George’s Clubs Camp Songs, c.1926. Pamphlet.

LC11405: Living in the City: a songbook by Dave Swift. Pamphlet.

LCF00640: Below Bridges by Charles Ancliffe. Book. A Suite for Piano. Includes Wapping Old Stairs, Stepney Church and Poplar (Saturday night). Book.

L8041: The Old Cryes of London: with numerous illustrations and musical examples by Sir Frederick Bridge. Book, 1921.

Music and Events Programmes

LCP00252: St John on Bethnal Green arts and music festival, 1996-1998. Serial.

Annual Souvenir programme.

LCP00269: Spitalfields festival 1987-2004. Serial.

Programme for the Spitalfields Festival, an annual festival of classical music performances.

LC7961: The Matchgirls, 1996. Pamphlet.

Official programme of the musical by Bill Owen and Tony Russell directed and choreographed by Gillian Lynne at the Globe Theatre, Shaftesbury Ave.

L8553: Handbills of entertainment at Poplar Civic Theatre, 1950-1963. Book.

Events at the People’s Palace

LC11411: The Youth and Community Section (Tower Hamlets) present a Metropolitan Police Sing-a-Long at the People's Palace, Queen Marys College, 7.00 pm on Thursday 15th November 1990. Pamphlet.

LC11419: The People's Palace Choral Society 1960-1969. Pamphlet.

History of the society and performances.

LC11417: The People's Palace Choral Society 1960-1969. Pamphlet.

Concert programmes from April 1960-April 1969.

P/CLA/2/13: Programme of concert at the People's Palace, Mile End Road, 1916. Archive.

L7532: People's Palace Choral Society programmes of concerts, 1955-[1983]. Serial.



The East End has a rich music hall history, having been the home of some of the first established Music Halls in London, including Wilton’s, The Foresters, The Paragon and The Garrick Tavern. Images of some of these historic venues can be found under class marks 795. Other reference items include:

L9256: Music Hall by Roy Hudd. Book, 1976.

L4620: Marie Lloyd & Music Hall by Daniel Farson. Book, 1972.

L5603: British Music Hall: An illustrated Who's Who from 1850 to the present day by Roy Busby. Book, 1976.

L4468: The Early Doors: Origins of the Music Hall by Harold Scott. Book, 1946.

LC8304: The Edwardian Theatre: Essays on performance and the stage edited by Michael R. Booth, Joel H. Kaplan. Book, 1996.

Includes “Varieties of life: the making of the Edwardian music hall” by Peter Bailey and “Beating the bounds: Gender play and role reversal in the Edwardian music hall” by Dave Russell.

LC6566: The Mass, the Masses and the Music Hall: Stewart Headlam's radical Anglicanism by John R. Orens. Pamphlet.

P/BSL/A/3/1/86: 'London Music Hall' [The London Music Hall Protection Society Limited], 1979-1981. Archive.

Records of The London Music Hall Trust.

The British Music Hall Society have published comprehensive guides for researching Music Hall artistes and songs.

Wilton’s Music Hall

P/BSL/A/2/1/105: Wilton's Music Hall, 1975-1977. Papers covering, Half Moon Theatre - Proposed Acquisition of Wilton's, miscellaneous plans, documents, correspondence and papers. Archive.

LC11594: Wilton's grand music hall sketch proposals. Photocopy of typescript. Pamphlet.

L/THL/B/1/2/3: Correspondence with John Betjeman re future of Wilton's Music Hall, 1965. Archive.

P25953: Wilton's Music Hall, 1967. Image (More images at class mark 795.1.).

SW/1/151: Inside Wilton's Music Hall, 2009. Image.

LC8246: John Wilton's Music Hall: The Handsomest Room in Town by Peter Honri. Book.

Includes illustrations, facsimiles, plans, portraits.

P/ROR/1/4/1/1: Annual Reports and Statements of Accounts, 1977-1984. Archive.

The material for year ended 31 March 1977 includes a document entitled 'Joint Report on the Year's Activities' which contains interesting updates about the campaign to regain Wilton's Music Hall as an arts and entertainment centre and the aim to make this the new home for the Half Moon Theatre.

Tower Hamlets has hosted many notable music festivals in its outdoor spaces, our collections include papers of organisations tasked with producing some of them.

Rock Against Racism, Victoria Park 1978

Between 1976 and 1981, the movement Rock Against Racism (RAR) confronted racist ideology in the streets, parks and town halls of Britain. RAR was formed by a collective of musicians and political activists to fight fascism and racism through music. The first large scale RAR festival was held in Victoria Park in April 1987.

LCF00818: Rock against racism by Syd Shelton. Book, 2015.

L8057: Beating Time by David Widgery. Book, 1986.

LC14829: Never again: Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League 1976-1982 by David Renton. Book, 2019.

LCX00003: Folder 3, 1978: Cuttings and ephemera on racism and religious prejudice, anti-racism.

I/SPF: Records of Spitalfields Festivals Ltd.

The organisation began as a classical music venture in 1976. In 2001, the Festival launched 25 different premieres, including music of Irish, Bangladeshi and Somalian origin. This archive collection includes minutes of meetings, cuttings, festival brochures and programmes, festival reports and newsletters.

I/SPF/2: Cuttings files, 1998-2006, 18 folders.

I/SPF/4: Festival programmes 1982-2007, 39 items.

I/SPF/6: Newsletters 2004-2007, 4 items.

I/SPF/9/1: Dissertation: Four Music Festivals and Opera in the Twenty-first Century by Jean-Mary Gatehouse.

We hold some material about other festivals held in the borough, including:

LC11412: Tower Hamlets Music Festival 1986 report by Mike Schirn. Pamphlet.

Includes budget reports.

NON/4: 12 digital photographs of Field Day 2014, Victoria Park.

LC14608: Spitalfields Music summer festival June 2-26, 2016. Programme of events. Pamphlet.

Tower Hamlets Arts Committee

We hold many records for this organisation, which was responsible for the administration of arts grants and projects within the borough. These can be found in both our archive and library collections. Examples include:

S/THA/2/2: Folders re the East End Festival, 1985-1987.

S/THA/2/11: File re Composer/Musician in residence scheme 1982-1986.

Contains correspondence, minutes of meetings, reports, etc [composer/musician was based in St Paul's Way School].

S/THA/2/13: File re Oxford House, 1984-1989.

Includes material relating to the Oxford House Community Arts Workshop and Musician in Residence scheme.

S/THA/2/17: Folder marked "Entertainments Meeting minutes, 1987-1990.

Folder actually contains papers re events staged by Tower Hamlets Borough Council's Entertainments Service mainly at the Civic Theatre, Bow; include cuttings, programmes and photographs.

S/THA/3/1/1: Tower Hamlets Arts resource directory, Spring 1979.

S/THA/3/1/2: Campaign for a popular culture: a record of struggle and achievement; the G.L.C.'s Community Arts Programme 1981-1986.

P/BSL/A/3/1/8: Records of The Tower Hamlets Arts Committee, 1980-1982.

Includes records around the East End Festival.

LC11056: Minutes of annual general meeting of Tower Hamlets Arts Committee, 1988. Pamphlet Bound with Tower Hamlets Arts Committee constitution. General meeting for 1988 and 1989 only. Music in September and October flyers and Altab Ali Festival flyer.

Poplar Borough Council

LC11449 - LC11452: Poplar Town Hall / Poplar Borough Council Entertainments posters. Serial.

Collection of 83 posters dating from 1948 to 1964 for variety show concerts, plays and events put on at Poplar Town Hall by Poplar Borough Council Entertainments, with dates of performances and names of artists.

LC11404: The life and times of the ‘Turk’s Head’ barrel piano by Nigel Winfield, 1994. Pamphlet.

LC11393: Sound advice by Nick Ryan. Pamphlet.

A feasibility study commissioned by the Atum Group to look at the possibility of providing a complex of studios, musical workshops, and disc cutting room at the Limehouse Library, 638 Commercial Road, London E14.

LC11413: A Grand Coronation Musical Festival / Stepney Meeting House, 1902. Pamphlet.

Photocopy of programmes from Stepney Meeting House for June-December 1902, includes names of performers and musical selections.

LC15330: Singing for Dear Life. Videocassette.

Part of a compilation of television programmes relating to Tower Hamlets recorded on videocassette between 1989 and 1992. Singing for Dear Life: London's East End at the turn of the century is brought to life as some of its eldest inhabitants recall their early lives through conversation and rarely heard popular songs of the time.

No digital public access copy is currently available, contact staff as to updates on access.

P/CLA/1/10: Programme of concert for the Bromley Football Club in the "White Hart" Hotel grounds, Bromley-by-Bow, 1908. Archive.

LC15383 & LC14384: London’s Lost Music Venues vols. 1 & 2 by Paul Talling. Books, 2020, 2022.

Contain entries for vanished East London music venues.

The British Library
The British Library has a world-famous collection of printed and manuscript music, music recordings, concert programmes and books and periodicals on music.
Their collection guides include:
The British Library guide to Pop music recordings
The British Library guide to Black Britain: music and audiovisual
Their sound collections include examples of Classical & World and traditional music amongst many others.

The British Music Archive
The British Music Archive exists as a historical and cultural library of commercially unreleased sound recordings and associated memorabilia.

The Royal College of Music
The Royal College of Music Library holds a range of historically and internationally significant items in addition to its comprehensive lending collection.

University of Liverpool Institute of Music
The Popular Music Archive contains a collection of over 80,000 vinyl records and thousands of reel-to-reels, as well as CDs, cassettes, and a substantial collection of paper archives.

The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library
The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library is England’s national folk music and dance archive, housing Cecil Sharp’s personal book collection. It is now a multi-media library of distinction, containing books, pamphlets, periodicals, press cuttings, broadsides, paintings, photographs, slides, artefacts, records, reel-to-reel tapes, phonograph cylinders, videos, cine films, compact discs, audio cassettes and more.

The Black Music History Library
This digital library contains well over one thousand entries in the form of books, articles, documentaries, series, radio segments, and podcasts about the Black origins of popular and traditional music, dating from the 18th century to the present day.