Islington Local History Centre

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Islington Local History Centre has an unrivalled collection of material relating to life in this thriving borough. Whether you are a family historian tracing your roots, a teacher researching material for your students, or simply someone who is interested in finding out more about this fascinating part of London, we're sure to be able to help.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

By appointment
Monday: 10.00-13.00, 14.00-20.00
Tuesday: 10.00-13.00, 14.00-17.00
Thursday: 10.00-13.00, 14.00-20.00
Friday: 10.00-13.00, 14.00-17.00
Saturdays: 10.00-13.00, 14.00-17.00

Closed: Wednesdays and Sundays

Records of the vestry of St. Mary's, Islington (1662-1900), vestries of St. James, Clerkenwell and St. Luke's, Old Street. Records of the Metropolitan Boroughs, including Council Minutes.

Book collection covering the local area and all aspects of local life.

Local maps from 1600, including large scale Ordnance Survey maps from the 1870's to the present.

Photographs, paintings, drawings and engravings of local scenes, people, roads and buildings.

Cuttings and ephemera on all aspects of local news from 19th century to 1990’s.

Local newspapers, church and business magazines, from the 19th century onwards.

19th and 20th century Post Office London Directories (incomplete 1852-1991).

Census returns on microfilm 1841-1901, with accompanying street indexes.

19th and 20th century registers of electors.

Registers of St. Mary’s parish church, Upper St. (incomplete 1557-1913).

Rate books listing each house and the ratepayer. The earliest Finsbury rate book begins in 1661, and the earliest Islington rate book in 1729.

18th and 19th century poor law settlement examination books for Clerkenwell, indexed by surname.

Various deeds, deposited archives and papers of local individuals and organisations are available.

Collection details

Archives, Performing Arts, Social History

Key artists and exhibits

  • Special Collections
  • Sadler's Wells Theatre: playbills, prints, photographs, cuttings, books and other material relating to Sadler's Wells buildings, theatre, opera and ballet performances and management.
  • Penton Family and Estate: various papers relating to the Pentonville area.
  • Sickert Collection: Books, photographs, cuttings and a small picture collection, relating to Walter Sickert and Therese Lessore.
  • Joe Orton Collection: Books, cuttings, and reproductions of the Islington Library book jackets defaced and doctored by Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell.

Islington Local History Centre
Finsbury Library
245 St John Street
Greater London




(020) 7527 7988

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.