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Staff at London Metropolitan Archives are always encouraged to contribute to the archive profession by taking up roles on various committees and boards within organisations such as the Archives and Records Association, Business Archives Council and Religious Archives Group. In December 2016, Louise Harrison decided to take the opportunity to become the membership secretary and board member of Archives for London (AfL). AfL is a unique organisation as it is for everyone who is interested in the Capital’s archives whether that be archivists, researchers or those who just love history. It is believed that by bringing together these different groups, we can enhance our understanding and enjoyment of London’s vast archival collections. Louise looks at the benefits of being a member of AfL.


AfL was formed in 2005 as a successor body to the Greater London Archives Network (GLAN), the London Archives Users Forum (LAUF) and the London Archives Regional Council (LARC). GLAN was a forum for those that worked in archives and local studies in London whereas LAUF was an organisation for archive users. AfL has since built on the good practices and networking opportunities that were established by these predecessor bodies to become a key focal point for both practitioners and users of archives in London.


One of AfL’s main activities is the organisation and hosting of monthly seminars on a range of archival subjects relating to the London area. So far this year, there have been talks on the Kennel Club, Barnardos, Bank of England, Biography of London Fog, Survey of London and the Digital Panopticon Project. All seminars (apart from November) are held at London Metropolitan Archives on the first Thursday of the month from 5:30pm.

Forty members and non-members attended the June Seminar on the Digital Panopoticon Project which was presented by Dr Bob Shoemaker. Attendees enjoyed drinks and nibbles followed by an engaging talk about how the project is linking together many record sets to trace the lives of London convicts from birth to death. After the talk, there was a lively question and answer session which could have gone on for hours! As with all the seminars, it was great to see a range of different people connecting with each other because of a common interest in London’s rich archival heritage.

As well as seminars, AfL also organise a Summer Soirée, an annual conference, and a range of practical sessions for archivists. A regular newsletter keeps members up-to-date with the latest archive-related news in London.


AfL currently has a large number of both individual members and institutional members. The annual subscription for individual members is £12, which includes free entry to all seminars, reduced rates for the summer party and conference, and the regular newsletter. Institutions can join for between £20 and £100 depending on the size of their organisation and they can get all the individual membership benefits for their employees plus opportunities to share their news and events via the AfL website, mailing list and social media.

For more information about Archives for London, please visit their website.

20 July 2017
Last Modified:
08 August 2018