City of London
020 7332 1868
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.
Library, Archive, Museum, Gallery
Mon to Sat 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
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.
Celebrity Cooks: Mrs Beeton and her Contemporaries
- 21 January — 17 April 2015 *on now
150 years after her death, Mrs Beeton is still one of the most important figures in food history. But where did she fit into the world of 19th-century celebrity cooks? From her beginnings in the City to the publication of her Book of Household Management, Guildhall Library's latest exhibition examines her impact then and now.
- Any age
State Property: My Cold War Memoir
- 10 February 2015 2-3pm
In 1979, while a teenager in Ceausescu's Romania, Mariana Gordan was arrested, charged with high treason and conspiring against the state for befriending foreign tourists. Join her to hear how she escaped a 30-year jail sentence in a communist prison with the help of an English couple, who smuggled her out of the country in hair-raising conditions, the ups and downs of her life in the UK as a political refugee during the height of the Cold War, and how she returned to Romania in the middle of the revolution in 1989.