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  • Front view of Guildhall, looking north and Guildhall Yard c1814

    Front view of Guildhall, looking north and Guildhall Yard, c1814.

Following the reorganisation of Guildhall Library and City archive services generally, the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library closed in April 2009. Access to most of the archive and manuscript collections and archive services for the City of London is now concentrated at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) in Clerkenwell, a mile north east of Guildhall Library.

A few important groups of archives will continue to be housed and consulted at Guildhall Library.

The key collections are:

  • The Stock Exchange archives and printed collections.
  • Lloyd’s of London archives and printed collections (except the Lloyd’s Captain’s Registers, which remain at LMA).
  • The City of London Livery Company archives (and some associated collections).

The following collections were transferred to LMA in February 2013 - please see our news and events pages for further details.

  • St Paul’s Cathedral archives (except microfilmed parish and probate records, and marriage licences, which remain at LMA).
  • Christ’s Hospital Archives.

 

How do I obtain a City History Card or a City Library Card?

​You can apply for a History Card at LMA on submission of two types of identity information (see the History card application page for full details) or for a Library Card at Guildhall Library (which requires acceptable proof of identity). The Library Card can be used to consult archives at Guildhall only.

How long do I have to wait before the archive item I wish to see is delivered to my desk?

​Most original documents from the five named groups of archives stored at Guildhall can be produced within 20 minutes of request on average. For records consulted on microfilm, the films are held on open access in the reading room.

Please note: Two working days’ advance notice will be required for access to the Stock Exchange applications for listing files (Ms 18000-18000A). This is because they are held off-site. Orders may be placed at Guildhall Library or at LMA.

What rules and regulations apply?

​The following rules and regulations apply:

  • A City History Card or City Library Card or other acceptable proof of identity is required before access to archives is given.
  • Use of lockers for coats and bags is essential.
  • Pencil only; laptops allowed.
  • Items can only be viewed at the Rare Books Table in Guildhall Library.
  • Five items can be ordered at any one time; one item will be issued at any one time.

How do I obtain copies?

​There are reader/printer machines at Guildhall Library for taking copies from microfilms. Copies cost 20p, and the machines accept History Cards.

You are welcome to take photographs for private study of most records from the five series listed above. You will need to buy a Guildhall Library photo pass, which costs £5.00 per day; this acts as a copyright declaration. You will also need to disable the flash function on your camera.

You may also commission appropriate copies, using the application forms available at Guildhall Library enquiries desk. It is essential to leave contact information in case there is a need to contact you concerning the copying request.

Please note: no copies of any kind may be made of any original Christ’s Hospital records and certain Clockmakers’ Company records without prior written permission from the depositor.

Please email or call 020 7332 3820 for more information.

Where and when can I consult archives at Guildhall?

​Archives from the five groups of archives listed above can be consulted at Guildhall Library, on production of either a City of London History Card or other acceptable proof of identity (passport, driving licence, City Library card). Please request archives by writing out application slips available at the Guildhall Library enquiries desk.

The consultation of these archives is on the Rare Books Table in Guildhall Library only (maximum of 12 readers).

Items can be consulted during Guildhall Library opening hours: Monday to Saturday, (9.30am – 4.45pm).

How do I get further advice?

​All email and telephone enquiries about the five groups of archives housed at Guildhall Library should be addressed to LMA in the first instance. An archivist with knowledge of these collections will be providing regular surgeries on Friday mornings at Guildhall Library to assist with problems relating specifically to the records. Access to all other former Guildhall Manuscripts collections besides the five groups of archives listed above will be concentrated at LMA. Advance notice is required for access to some collections, particularly business records.

For specific access advice please contact LMA.

What about digital sources at Guildhall?

​A dedicated City Digital Archive area is provided at Guildhall Library. In this area, you will be able to view important digital archive resources, such as the London parish registers and poor law records. Over the coming months, the digital collection will be growing significantly.

How can I keep in touch with latest developments?

​If you wish to keep in touch with us as the service evolves, please sign up to receive our regular electronic newsletter. It contains a combination of interesting articles on new collections, recently catalogued material, forthcoming events and service improvements.


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