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
The Discovery of Roman London
- 11 September — 1 December 2017 *on now
In the early 19th century Londoners with an interest in history realised that large parts of Londinium could have survived under the modern streets of their City and that it might be possible to actively search for the archaeological evidence. By linking objects, archives and stunning 19th-century illustrations, this exhibition looks at the early pioneers of Roman London archaeology and the discovery of Roman London over three centuries.
At the same time the City Corporation was becoming increasingly interested in displaying artefacts relating to the history of London. In 1826 the Guildhall Museum was established to provide, ‘A suitable place for the reception of such Antiquities as relate to the City of London and Suburbs’. Guildhall Library's photowall will display images from the Guildhall Museum, a precursor to the modern Museum of London.
The exhibition contains items from the Guildhall Library’s collections and archaeological artefacts from the Museum of London’s collections.
City of London
020 7332 1868