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LMA history and organisation

Date updated: 11/03/2024

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.

Map of London published in 1851
Map of London published in 1851

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 or consult original documents once you have registered for a History Card. Staff are available to provide assistance and advice on our holdings.

Information on location and opening times can be found on our Visitor Information pages

Whether you’re tracing your family history or researching the history of your neighbourhood, if you’re interested in London or Londoners, LMA is the place to visit.

Further information about LMA can be found on our policies page.