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City Corporation to launch new Covid-19 Recovery Grant Scheme for Square Mile SMEs

Date updated: 10/19/2021

The LMA library comprises over 100,000 books covering all aspects of the history and development of the Greater London area. The library aims to help anyone interested in the metropolis or needing facts about specific legislation, buildings, events or people in London. The library is open to everyone without charge for reference only. Only a small proportion of the library holdings are on open access in the Information Area, and you will need a History card to order other items from the collection.

London Government

The holdings of the library are particularly strong in the history of the administration of London. There are sets of printed and indexed minutes for the Greater London Council and the Inner London Education Authority and earlier London-wide authorities, together with a  large series of publications which cover a range of subjects from timetables for workmen’s trains to GLC anti-racist housing policies. There are printed minutes and reports from many London borough councils and their predecessors, and a series of statistical returns for the whole of London from the nineteenth century onwards. The library has good holdings of Acts of Parliament, including local acts and private acts relating to London, and of parliamentary papers.

Local history

In addition to extensive sections on general London history and topography, the library has a wide range of holdings covering the history of individual areas, streets and buildings in London. These include a large number of fine illustrated eighteenth and nineteenth century books.

Family history

A wide range of books covering all aspects of research into your family history are available. Street directories, registers and yearbooks can offer an insight into where ancestors lived and what they might have been doing, as well as holding holds many publications from family history societies and other organisations.

Social history

Books cover many aspects of London life, from public transport to gentlemen’s clubs. The library covers services administrated by the GLC and its predecessors, such as education and parks, and by other major London institutions like hospitals, charities and theatres.


The library holds a large range of journals and periodicals covering a multitude of subjects. It also keeps back numbers of periodicals including the "Illustrated London News" and "The Builder".

LMA Book Group

If you are interested in writing which supports archive research, LMA Book Group meets monthly to explore a range of London writing, with a remit covering fiction and non-fiction for all periods in London's history. Further details may be found on LMA’s Eventbrite page.

  1. Black London by Avril Nanton and Jody Burton (67.0 2021)

    What a great idea - a guide to London's black history, arranged by location with a handy set of maps, this highlights the people and places that tell the stories of black Londoners, from the Tudor period to the present day. There's even an entry for LMA, to represent the Huntley Archives.

  2. Black 1919: Riots, Racism and Resistance in Imperial Britain by Jaqueline Jenkinson (20.16 JEN)

    In the aftermath of the First World War, a series of riots broke out in British port cities (including London) where white working class people targeted black workers, their families and black-owned businesses and property. This book sets out the economic and social causes of the riots, and their impact on Britain's relationship with its empire and colonial subjects. It looks at who the rioters were, police procedure, the court cases that followed and longer term consequence for black British workers and their families. Uses sources from LMA’s collections (mainly the sessions records).

  3. London is the Place for Me: Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race by Kennetta Hammond Perry (20.16 PER)

    The Windrush generation came to Britain on the basis that citizenship was theirs by birth-right, but while Britain was seen as a paragon of equal justice, many of those new arrivals found a nation that was hostile and unwilling to incorporate black people into its concept of Britishness. Perry brings together a range of sources such as records of grassroots political organisations, photographs, migrant narratives and calypso music to explore how people navigated the politics of race and citizenship in Britain and the critical role that black people played in the formation of contemporary Britain. Perry uses sources from all over the United Kingdom for this book but makes use of the records of the National Council of Social Services records (ACC/1888) from LMA.

  4. Thomas Kytson's 'Boke of Remembraunce' (1529-1540), edited by Colin J. Brett (60.41 KYT)

    The 54th volume of the London Record Society's series, this is an edition of a manuscript volume of Thomas Kytson's commercial dealings. Kyston was a London Alderman, mercer and Merchant Adventurer and this volume describes his purchases of cloth, his shipments to the Low Countries, the sales of spices and other goods, as well as information about Kytson's fellow merchants and family.

  5. Five Parishes in Late Medieval and Tudor London: Communities and Reform - Gary Gibbs (67.4 GIB)

    This is a forensic study of five parishes in the City of London where Gibbs explores the governance, structure, fraternities and operations of the parishes in minute detail, revealing the unique character of individual parishes and the nature of specific neighbourhoods in the City. A fascinating approach that comes from detailed study. Records of the parishes are all held at LMA, and this could be a useful text for researchers working in this period.

  6. Merchants: The Community that Shaped England's Trade and Empire by Edmond Smith (35.3 SMI)

    Smith traces the lives of English merchants in the century following Elizabeth I's ascent to the throne, when English trade grew spectacularly as innumerable ventures were launched across the globe. His examination of their behaviour, relationships and mutual collaboration form a study of this community of merchants, which Smith argues provide the origins of a globalised Britain. As you might imagine, Smith makes use of the records of the City Corporation and of some of the livery companies held by LMA (the latter accessible via Guildhall Library) in his work.

  7. Living with Shakespeare: Saint Helen's Parish, London, 1593-1598 by Geoffrey Marsh (67.5 MAR)

    It is hard to believe there are any documents left that haven't already been scrutinised and re-scrutinised by generations of Shakespeare scholars, but here Marsh has a go - focusing on Shakespeare's life following the 1593-4 plague, when he was turning 30 and evolving from a newcomer to London's theatre to an established name. He does this through an exploration of the records of St Helen's Bishopsgate, looking at the parish's religious, political and neighbourly intersections and what influence these may have had on the bard. This is a pretty lavish publication, with lots of illustrations.

  8. London Parish Maps to 1900 - Ralph Hyde (65.21 HYD)

    Ralph Hyde, former Keeper of Maps and Prints at Guildhall Library (who died in 2015) compiled this single catalogue of over 470 parish maps. This commemorative volume, including illustrations of 340 of the maps, published by the London Topographical Society has a great deal of potential use for researchers trying to identify maps of specific areas, and as you might expect it includes a large quantity of maps from LMA with reference numbers to the Collections Catalogue and to the London Picture Archive.

  9. London and its Asylums 1888-1914: Politics and Madness by Robert Ellis (26.2 ELL)

    Explores the impact politics had on mental health care in the period through a study of the London County Council. Cleverly structured - it sets the context of London's asylums, then looks at the effect of a range of issues: new forms of administration; finance; architecture; and what Ellis calls the 'politics of difference' in how the LCC treated 'foreign lunatics'. As you might imagine, it has an extensive list of sources from LMA’s collection and a good bibliography.

  10. Idiocy, Imbecility and Insanity in Victorian Society: Caterham Asylum 1867-1911 by Stef Eastoe (26.21 CAT)

    This academic book examines the understudied history of the so-called 'incurables' in the Victorian period, the patients often described as idiots, imbeciles, and the weak-minded, as opposed to those who were thought to have curable conditions. Caterham was England's first state 'imbecile asylum' (later becoming St Lawrence's Hospital, records at LMA under H23/SL), opened to take pressure off London's workhouses and was always designed as a long-stay hospital for 'incurables' (in contrast to other lunatic asylums). Eatoe examines how Caterham came into being, the types of patients, their daily lives and what happened to people who left. There's also an interesting chapter on the photographs of patients, which survive in the casebooks.

  11. Survey of London vol. 53: Oxford Street, edited by Andrew Saint (70.7 OXF)

    Richly illustrated volume on the history and architecture of Oxford Street, particularly strong on the changing nature of the street and individual department stores. As reliably rigorous as you would expect from the Survey, it is also very readable. Highly recommended - a must for anyone interested in the location or the history of shopping.

  12. A Practical Guide to Searching LGBTQIA Historical Records - Norena Shopland (60.0 SHA)

    This guide offers a range of tools for researchers uncovering material from online and hard copy archive sources, including glossaries to keywords used in historical records to identify LGBT+ people, guidance on getting the best out of online newspapers and genealogy websites, and guidance on types of archive collections that can yield results. The sections on archives and museums are thorough and the glossaries are very useful. Recommended for researchers working in this area (LMA gets a mention in the specialist repositories section).

  1. London Journal (July 2021, 67.2 LON) 

    Derek Keene obituary; Covid commentaries: London's cultural landscape; Promenading, PAR [practice as research] and place realist theatre; Women, Guilds and the Tailoring Trades: occupation training of Merchant Taylor's Co apprentices in early modern London; the uses and congregational experiences of London's Wesleyan Methodist Chapels (1851-1932); Alcohol and personal security in the built environment - student engagement in the night-time economy.

  2. Metropolitan ((Journal of the London Westminster and Middlesex Family History Society, September 2021, 61.2 LON)

    Life of Ignatius Sancho; animals in war memorial; birth records; Holborn's extra parochial areas

  3. London Topographical Society Newsletter (May 21, 60.9 LTS) - Changing London - North of King's Cross; old London Bridge; Who owned the City of London in 1666; London peregrinations of John Collier; Exploring North East London - new walking routes and maps; Deptford Market Yard scheme; additions of landscaped London sights to the National Register of Parks and Gardens; William Alister Macdonald and his drawings of the Thames

  4. London Landscapes (Summer 2021, 48.1 LON)

    Suffragette gardener Helen Colt; skateboarding and open spaces; development in city green spaces

  5. Camden History Review (No. 44 2021, 72.0 CAM)

    Unrealised railway schemes for Camden and Primrose Hill; Belle Bilton, showgirl; Samuel Wesley, organist and composer; T.S. Eliot and Bloomsbury; The High and Ham; R.D. Blackmore's Camden years

  6. Archives and Records (Spring 2021, 60.8 SOC)

    Transformative justice: transdisciplinary collaborations for archival autonomy; electronic personhood and an evolving theory of archival diplomatics; connecting archives and public history; safeguarding the nation's digital memory, a Bayesian model; records management and archiving in the pharmaceutical industry; what cartography can tell us about archival description