This catalogue describes the collections held by Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, a publicly funded service provided by Tower Hamlets Council. The borough, the heart of London’s East End, has a very rich history and today, as in past centuries, is home to a vibrant mix of communities.


The Local History Library & Archives service, established in 1965, is based in a Grade II listed building in Mile End. The archive collections include records of predecessor local authorities dating back to the sixteenth century and records of local organisations, businesses and places of worship. The library collections include thousands of books, pamphlets, newspaper cuttings, maps and over 40,000 pictures (mainly photographs) which together provide an unparalleled resource for the study of London’s East End.



The collections that you will find described in the catalogue fall into three distinct divisions (described as “Repositories” in the catalogue):

  1. The local history library collections (printed books, pamphlets and periodicals) which is organised according to the Library’s own Classification Scheme
  2. The archive collections. These include: Local Authority Records, Business Records, Records of Institutions, Records of Societies and Associations, Records of Places of Worship, Personal and Estate Papers, Central Records of Local Government, and Oral History Records
  3. The image collection. This consists mainly of photographs but also sketches, paintings and engravings. Note that such materials can also be found within the archive collections where they form an integral part of a collection.
Search the online catalogue to find out what is held at the library and archives, and then plan your visit to consult the items you have identified.



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