Guildhall Library

Guildhall Library
City of London



Guildhall Library


020 7332 1868

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Guildhall Library
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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.

Venue Type:

Library, Archive, Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

Mon to Sat 09.30 - 17.00

Closed: Bank Holidays and Saturdays of a Bank Holiday weekend

Admission charges

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
Business history
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.

Collection details

Trade and Commerce, Social History, Maritime, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.


  • 18 November — 13 December 2014 *on now

“A book has a double life like few other objects. It is at once an object residing on a shelf as well as a portal to another place.”

Guildhall Library's latest exhibition sees book artist Meg Green exhibit a series of works inspired by the collections of Guildhall Library, the world’s largest collection devoted to the history of a single city.

These unique hand-bound books expand off the page and climb out of the covers depicting some of the more unusual aspects of London’s extraordinary sense of place.


City Guides - Ambassadors of the Square Mile

  • 24 November 2014 — 14 March 2015 *on now

The City’s 2,000 years of history, architecture and customs is complex and fascinating. The City of London Guides Association was founded in 1983 to promote a high standard of guiding in the City. From ex-policemen and journalists to teachers and secretaries, the City Guides bring a wealth of knowledge to reveal the full delights of this unique part of London.

Niki Gorick’s latest photography exhibition at Guildhall Library shows these entertaining educators at work.


Philanthropy: the City Story

  • 24 November 2014 — 10 January 2015 *on now

Philanthropy is one of London’s hidden stories, yet the City can trace 800 years of philanthropic giving. This generosity laid the foundations of the Capital and established sophisticated ideas around private wealth and public good.

This exhibition taking place in Guildhall Library was created by the Charterhouse and the Museum of London, and funded by the City Bridge Trust.​


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

An Introduction to Book Arts

  • 4 December 2014 1-4pm

Discover a range of techniques and make your own books during this half-day workshop. Led by Meg Green of Some Odd Pages Book Arts studio, this interactive session lets you explore materials and develop your own ideas in Book Arts and bookbinding, perfect for creating unique artist’s books and for Christmas. No experience necessary!

Suitable for

  • 18+


£45 - materials included, tools provided.

Late View: LondEnfold

  • 11 December 2014 6-8pm

Guildhall Library Artist-In-Residence Meg Green presents ‘LondEnfold’ a range of original Artist’s Books inspired by the Library’s collections. Meg will be discussing books as artworks, and vice versa, along with some of the eccentric ideas and projects which fuel this unusual occupation. Presentation will be followed by an open reception where visitors are invited to browse the Artist’s Books with time for questions and discussion.
Includes a wine reception.

Suitable for

  • 18+


£5 plus booking fee, booking essential


The Chimes

‘The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In’

  • 16 December 2014 11am-3pm

Join Guildhall Library for a festive reading of The Chimes, the second in Charles Dickens' series of five 'Christmas books'; short publications with strong social and moral messages.

Lucinda Hawksley, author and great-great-great granddaughter of Charles Dickens, will launch the event with a reading and introduction about Dickens’ Christmas books. Mince pies will be available in the interval.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 11-13
  • 14-15
  • 16-17