Guildhall Library, the library of London history, holds the world’s largest collection of material devoted to a single city. With titles from the 13th century to the present day, it tells the remarkable story of 2,000 years of life in the capital and covers all aspects of life in London, past and present.
Our free temporary exhibitions focus on the library’s collections and the history of London, from the history of the City Livery Companies to Shakespeare and the Great Plague. Accompanying the exhibitions programme is a series of exciting events, including lectures, late views and receptions.
Mon to Fri (except Wed) 09.30 - 17.00
Wed 09.30 - 19.30
Alternate Sat (check website for dates) 09.30 - 17.00
Closed: Bank Holidays and Saturdays of a Bank Holiday weekend
Free. Some events may incur a charge.
The History of London collection is a Designated Collection of national importance.
The collection is held at the Guildhall Library and the London Metropolitan Archives, and traces the history of the City of London and Greater London. The History of London collection is a unique, extensive and incredibly rich collection of material on the history of Britain’s capital city. The collections reveal the impact of London on social, cultural, economic and political developments in the rest of the country. The collection also reflects the central role of London in the globalisation of the economy and culture since the 18th century.
English legal and parliamentary material
Books on food and wine
Maritime history including Lloyd's marine collection
Holdings from our Manuscripts collections date from the 11th century and include the archives from most of the City's parishes, wards and livery companies and much more.
Prints and Maps section is the primary source of London's history, our collection of drawings, engravings, maps, portraits, satires, photographs and ephemera spans more than 400 years and shows how artists and surveyors have viewed the changing metropolis.
Trade and Commerce, Social History, Maritime, Archives
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection
London at Night
- 18 April — 26 August 2016 *on now
London is a remarkable city at any time of day, but London at night has a magic all of its own. Photographer Simon Gregor often leads tourists and Londoners, on night-time photo walks of the city, to try to discover some of the intrigue, atmosphere and charm of the metropolis ‘after hours’. In this exhibition, Simon will share some of his own favourite images of London after dark.
Anatomy of London: Survey of Contemporary London by Tony Phillips
- 1 July — 5 August 2016
For 15 years artist Tony Phillips has been creating work which investigates the nature of contemporary London, referencing its complexity, diversity and multi-layered history. The project began in 1999 with a join commission from the Museum of London and Guildhall Library for 24 etchings detailing the history of the city. This exhibition displays the results of this project: pen-and-wash drawings and etchings, which follow in the graphic tradition of social commentary developed by Hogarth and Dore.
City of London
020 7332 1868