Southwark Local History Library and Archive

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The Southwark Local History Library & Archive aims to tell the stories of the people, places, and organisations that make up the London Borough of Southwark. Our collections -- originally part of the reference library collections of the pre-1965 boroughs of Southwark, Bermondsey, and Camberwell -- include records of local government; personal, business, and organisational records; photographs and other images; ephemera; and collections of reference material and press cuttings. We can help you discover the history of the area, your family or your house, or provide help with school or college projects: staff are happy to advise you on how to make the most of our collections. You do not need to make an appointment to visit, nor to be a member of a Southwark, or any other, library.

Venue Type:

Library, Archive

Opening hours

Monday: 9.30 - 8.00
Tuesday: 9.30 - 5.00
Wednesday: closed
Thursday: 9.30 - 8.00
Friday: 9.30 - 5.00
Saturday; 9.30 -1.00

Closed: Wednesdays and Sundays

Additional info

The library has disabled access and toilet facilities. Microfilm readers (pre-booking strongly recommended), a photocopier are available for public use. First-time users may wish to phone ahead for more information -- staff are more available for intensive help at less busy times. Please contact staff well in advance and make an appointment if you want to make a group visit of any kind, or want to publish or broadcast any of our material.

Books and other printed published material: There are copies of most printed books on the history of the area. There are also pamphlets and periodicals produced by local organisations. There is an extensive run of directories and, on microfilm, local newspapers from 1856 to the present. There is a large file of press cuttings and ephemera.
Illustrations: There are some 20,000 photographs and prints, a collection of slides and also of watercolours. They provide a vivid visual record of Southwark over the last 200 years. Old photographs used on this web site can be found in the collection.
Maps: There are over 600 maps in the collection, ranging from copies of 16th century London maps to the most up to date large scale Ordnance Survey plans.
Videos, tapes and CD ROMs: There are films, videos and tapes reflecting life in the borough from the 1920s to the present.
Family history: On CD ROM is the Mormon Church's International Genealogical Index, a nationwide index to parish registers.
The Archives: The core of the collection is the local government records of the area, the civil parishes and the Metropolitan Boroughs. Some of the records of the former civil parishes go back to the 16th century. They include vestry minutes, taxation records and poor law records. We also hold copies of London County Council, and London School Board minutes. Some local organisations have also deposited their records including businesses, some Non-Conformist churches and early schools. We also hold, on microfilm, copies of records held elsewhere, most notably census returns and parish registers.

Southwark Local History Library and Archive
John Harvard Library
211 Borough High Street
Greater London

logo: CityRead London




020 75250232

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.