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Date updated: 17/05/2022

The archive of the City of London is one of the oldest, most complete and wide ranging civic archives in the world. Dating from 1067, with a Charter of William I, the collection traces the history of the City through a thousand years of governing the square mile, encompassing periods of civil war and national unrest, the Great Fire of London, and the growth of metropolitan London.

The City's unique role in national life with its traditional ceremonial role and emergence in the twentieth century as a leading local authority is documented here.

The history of metropolitan London can be traced through the archive of the Middlesex Sessions of the Peace, both administrative and judicial, from the sixteenth century. LMA also has records for the various bodies set up in the nineteenth century to run the capital - the Metropolitan Water Board, the Metropolitan Buildings Office, the School Board for London and the Metropolitan Asylums Board. Our 100,000 volume library began life over 100 years ago with the Metropolitan Board of Works.

Design for a proposed London County Council vacuum road cleaner, 1925
Design for a proposed London County Council vacuum road cleaner, 1925

In 1889 the County Councils of London and Middlesex were established and we hold the records of these councils from 1889 to 1965. The County of London was formed from the metropolitan areas of the ancient counties of Middlesex, Kent and Surrey (Central London).

In 1965 the London County Council and the Middlesex County Council were abolished and the Greater London Council was formed, taking in further areas of Kent and Surrey, as well as parts of Essex. LMA has official records covering the much larger area of Greater London from 1965 to 1986, including records of the Inner London Education Authority. Information on the Greater London area can also be found with the London Borough local archive services.

These archives give evidence of the City of London and the London wide government's ability to influence the framing of national legislation and initiatives as well as providing a matrix for local government in the rest of the UK.

View the film 'Capital County' on You Tube.