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Date updated: 17/05/2022

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.

Archive collections in storage at LMA
Archive collections in storage at LMA

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 A fee is normally payable where a collection is withdrawn permanently by a depositor.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.

If you are looking for advice and potentially wish to deposit records, you should look at our guide to records accepted by LMA page, which details the sorts of records we collect.