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Guildhall Library: the Library of London History

Guildhall Library is a public reference library specialising in the history of London. The Library’s printed books collection comprises over 200,000 titles dating from the 15th to the 21st centuries and includes books, pamphlets, periodicals, trade directories and poll books. The collection covers all aspects of life in London, past and present, its trade, people and buildings. In addition, we hold extensive collections covering maritime history, business history, clocks and clockmakers, internationally renowned collections of books on wine and food, historic English law reports and British parliamentary papers and statutes.  

We primarily hold printed material, but some manuscript collections can also be consulted at Guildhall Library.

Special collections include those devoted to Samuel Pepys, John Wilkes and Thomas More, plus the libraries of the Clockmakers', Gardeners’ and Fletchers’ Companies, the Antiquarian Horological Society, Gresham College, and the Charles Lamb Society.

Guildhall Library also provides free access to a range of online resources.

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  • News
    La Pompelle Fields 1957

    Our exciting and varied exhibitions programme covers all aspects of life in London.

  • News
    Festival of Britain poster

    We host a series of afternoon talks on London history, book launches and evening wine receptions.

Guildhall Library events programme

Guildhall Library runs an active and engaging programme of events, ranging from afternoon talks on aspects of London History, guided walks of the Square Mile an​d book launches to monthly evening wine receptions with current authors. The topic for each evening event is designed to be different from the last so that a range of interests can be explored from historical fact to historical fiction, with classical and real-life stories thrown in.

  • How to find us
    Guildhall Library Google Map

    Opening hours

    Monday-Saturday: 9.30am-5pm
    The library is closed on bank holidays and the Saturday of a bank holiday weekend.

What's happening
A Complete Reading of Shakespeare's Sonnets
23 Apr 2014
10:00 - 16:00
Guildhall Library
Seats are offered on a first come, first served basis.

A Complete Reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnets’ to celebrate the Bard’s 450th birthday. Drop in to listen to the 154 sonnets throughout the day. Special guests will read selected sonnets and Dr Roy Booth, Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, will launch the event with a brief introduction to the poems at 10am.

Find out more
All events at this location