London Metropolitan Archives


40 Northampton Road
United Kingdom


+44 20 7332 3820


+44 20 7833 9136


London Metropolitan Archives in its current form is essentially an amalgamation of four separate bodies. The first three were the London County Record Office, the London County Council Members Library and the Middlesex County Record Office, which merged in 1965 to form the Greater London Record Office and History Library (GLRO). The GLRO was rebranded as London Metropolitan Archives in 1997, and took over the former Corporation of London Record Office (CLRO) in 2005.

Records Management and Collecting Policies

To acquire by transfer or deposit, the records of the City of London Corporation and of official London-wide bodies. To acquire by gift, deposit or purchase original records relating to a) the City of London or b) the Greater London area which are London-wide in significance, particularly those of: Anglican dioceses and parishes falling within the City of London or former counties of London and Middlesex, except those of the pre-1965 City of Westminster Non-Anglican religious bodies including non-conformist, Jewish and Sikh institutions Private institutions including clubs, schools, societies, charities, professional associations, pressure groups and other organisations Individuals and institutions connected with or under the charge of the City of London Corporation or otherwise closely associated with the City of London “Square Mile” including the City of London livery companies and related organisations for which LMA is the primary place of deposit Businesses which originated or spent most of their history based in London including companies with UK-wide and global reach Families, estates and notable individuals, excluding single or small collections of title deeds National institutions whose headquarters are based in London and which complement existing holdings Records of ethnic and other minority communities which reflect the diversity of modern London, including collections from the Afro-Caribbean, Chinese, Asian and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered communities To collect and preserve, according to statutory provision, and in agreement with TNA, the records of public bodies of London relevance, especially records of courts, health authorities, hospitals and coroners courts. To acquire by gift, deposit or purchase: Maps, prints, drawings, watercolours, photographs, posters and other graphic items Audio visual materials including film, video and audio in analogue and digital formats, which are of topographical or social significance to the Greater London area To collect books, monographs, periodicals and ‘grey’ literature relating to the archival holdings and to the history of the Greater London area.

London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) exists to find, collect, preserve and make accessible the records of London’s rich history and of its vibrant and diverse present.

Our acquisitions service is vital to the continued development and diversification of the collections. The service collects archives relating to the City of London, and to the Greater London area which are of London-wide significance.

Material can include: -minutes -correspondence -registers -plans -photographic, printed and audio-visual material

Annually, we receive a total of over 500 linear shelf metres for all types of collections.

We welcome enquiries relating to offers of potential additions of records to the collections. We consider each offer of records carefully to decide whether they are worthy of long-term preservation in an archive and, if so, whether LMA is the right place for them. We can acquire original records by gift, deposit or purchase. Gifts are preferred, although deposits are also taken.

An acquisitions group of our archivists and conservators meets to make decisions about potential deposits, considering conservation, access and storage requirements. The group firmly believes that the role of a public sector archive services, such as the City Corporation’s, is to provide a future home for archives at risk or which cannot be easily accessed or maintained by their owners.

When a deposit is accepted, a charge is normally made for packaging and cataloguing of the collection. A fee is normally payable where a collection is withdrawn permanently by a depositor. Records presented as gifts are normally maintained at the City Corporation’s expense, except where collections are larger and where considerable expenditure is required.

Details of new acquisitions LMA receives are provided annually to The National Archives, the highlights of which are summarised on The National Archives website.

Once received, records are in due course prioritised for cataloguing. Documents are described according to international professional archival standards, numbered, packaged and located. The cataloguing process is vital in enabling future access to records which LMA receives.

Archival and Other Holdings

LMA is home to an extraordinary range of documents, images, maps, films and books about London.

Our holdings can be broadly described as:

The City of London Corporation’s own official archives, the finest municipal archive in the world.

Archive collections relating to the Square Mile. These include the records of most of the City’s parishes, wards and Livery Companies as well as those of many individuals, families, estates, businesses, schools, societies and other institutions, including the Stock Exchange and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Archive collections relating to metropolitan London. These include the records of local government organisations such as the London and Middlesex County Councils, the Greater London Council and the Greater London Authority; the Anglican dioceses of London and Southwark, including over 800 parishes, and many Non-conformist bodies; the Jewish community, including educational, religious and charitable organisations as well as national bodies like the Board of Deputies of British Jews; over 120 hospitals from large general institutions such as Guy’s and St Thomas’s to specialists such as the Foundling Hospital; businesses such as Lyons and Earls Court Olympia; gas, electricity and water companies; and an increasing number of community based organisations and individuals, from Black publishers and activists such as Eric and Jessica Huntley to the oral testimony of members of the LGBTQ community.

Archive collections of organisations based in London but with a national or international outlook. These include the records of many businesses who had head offices in London and traded internationally such as Sun Insurance Office Limited, Kleinwort Benson, Morgan Grenfell, Antony Gibbs and Sons, and Standard Chartered, and those which had multinational concerns in timber, tea, rubber, mining, shipping and telegraphy such as Harrison and Crosfield, Wallace Brothers, Inchcape and Globe Telegraph.

Graphic collections (prints and drawings, maps, photographs, ephemera and films) relating to both the Square Mile and Greater London. These cover aspects of the visual history of London and Londoners with strengths in the architecture of the capital and the life of Londoners. The collections include prints and drawings from the 1450s, maps from the 1570s and photographs from the 1840s, and also include trade cards, entertainment posters and programmes, portraits and postcards.

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

Opening Times

Monday 10am - 4pm

Tuesday 10am - 4pm

Wednesday 10am - 6pm

Thursday 10am - 4pm

Closed: Monday 29 August (bank holiday)

Annual Closure: 31 October-11 November

Conditions of Access

London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) is free to use and open to everyone. You can view our latest exhibition, browse a selection of library books on open access, search for images, watch videos or listen to the experiences of Londoners in our Mediatheque area, attend one of our events listed on Eventbrite(external link) or consult original documents once you have registered for a History Card. Staff are available to provide assistance and advice on our holdings.


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