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
Talbot House: 'An Oasis in a World Gone Crazy'
- 12 October 2015 — 8 January 2016 *on now
In 1915 army chaplain Philip ‘Tubby’ Clayton established the Everyman’s Club at Talbot House in the small town of Poperinge, only a few miles from the front line in Ypres. In this house rank was irrelevant, orders were prohibited, and all soldiers were encouraged to forget about the war. This exhibition tracks the story of Tubby and this ‘oasis’ for soldiers during the First World War. It will include items from Talbot House, the memoirs of Tubby and the actual hut in which he wrote them after fleeing the Germans.
- Any age
The Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass through the Ages
- 25 January — 23 March 2016
The Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass obtained its Royal Charter from Charles I in 1638, although references to a ‘Guild of Glaziers’ exist from as early as 1328. This exhibition takes you on a journey through the life of the Company, from these historical beginnings, to its work in the present day, including supporting students and creating new work, often in secular buildings. On display will be a selection of precious items from their collections.
City of London
020 7332 1868