Lambeth Palace Library
Lambeth Palace Road
020 7898 1400
020 7928 7932
Lambeth Palace Library is the historic library of the archbishops of Canterbury and the principal library and record office for the history of the Church of England. The Library focuses on ecclesiastical history, but its rich collections are important for an immense variety of topics from the history of art and architecture to colonial and Commonwealth history, and for innumerable aspects of English social, political and economic history. It is also a significant resource for local history and genealogy.
The Library was founded as a public library by Archbishop Bancroft in 1610, and its collections have been freely available for research ever since.
We are always happy to answer brief and specific questions about our holdings or to give advice both to personal visitors to the Library and also by e-mail, post or fax. However owing to a shortage of resources we regret that we are unable to undertake extensive or speculative enquiries. We do not offer a paid search service.
The entire collection of this library is a Designated Collection of national importance.
Library, Sacred space
The Library is open from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 5pm. No appointment is needed but readers need to obtain a ticket on production of a letter of introduction, proof of address and two passport photographs. Limited access to modern printed material and microforms on production of proof of address and two passport photographs.
The Library is situated on Lambeth Palace Road; its entrance is approximately 100 yards from the main gate of the Palace and is clearly marked with a brass plate and bell. Please ring once only for admittance, and be patient whilst someone comes to open the door.
Closed on public holidays, for ten days at Christmas beginning on Christmas Eve, for ten days at Easter beginning on Good Friday, and exceptionally at other times.
The catalogues of archives and manuscripts and printed books are available to search online. The Church Plans Online database offers digitised images of over 13,000 plans in the archive of the Incorporated Church Building Society. Records of the Church of England Record Centre can be viewed in the Reading Room once the material has been requested from the Record Centre (e-mail: email@example.com).
Microfilm and microfiche readers and an ultra-violet lamp are available. Readers may use their own laptops in the reading room and wi-fi access is offered.
Tea and coffee are available in the Library, and readers are welcome to bring refreshments to consume in the refreshment area. The consumption of tobacco products is only permitted in the Courtyard, not in any Library building.
Please contact the Library in advance concerning facilities for the disabled.
The Lambeth Palace Library holds the manuscripts and printed books of the archiepiscopal collections and the record office for the archives of the Archbishopric of Canterbury. This collection is a Designated Collection of national and international significance to the understanding of organized religion and the influence of the Church of England on the life of the nation.
Social History, Religion, Literature
Key artists and exhibits
- Archbishops' archives including Archbishop of Canterbury
- Archives of bishops, churchmen and societies
- Printed books
- Sion College
- Designated Collection