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
Books: Used and Abused
- 15 January — 9 March 2018 *on now
A book is a book is a box, bible, bling, expanding file, notepad, inadvertent container... Used and abused, the older a book is, the greater the chance that someone has altered its material content in an unusual or thoughtful way. See how and why books are customised, adorned, despoiled and disguised. Building on last year's display, this exhibition will feature new examples of weird and wonderful books from Guildhall Library's collections, each with its own fascinating story to tell.
Under the Microscope
- 19 March — 16 May 2018
Olive Elizabeth Aykroyd studied Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin in the 1930s, obtaining a PhD in 1938. Inspired by her brass microscope and scientific research her daughter, artist Mary Pritchard, has created a homage to her life and work. This exhibition and art installation brings together a variety of media and archival material, from biological slides and scientific papers to photographs and letters, revealing the personal history of Olive the scientist. View huge posters of insects, a mock-up of her laboratory and alternative artwork by Mary, all derived from or inspired by Olive’s scientific journey.
City of London
020 7332 1868