London Metropolitan Archives

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The LMA is home to the most important local government business in the capital. It is managed by the City of London, but as well as holding their archives, it also looks after material generated by broader cross-London bodies and various charitable trusts.

Authority Corporation of the City of London
Location 40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 0HB. See map
Membership/ID Location-specific membership card; see below
Photocopy policy Permissive; pay-per-copy
Camera policy Permissive; £3 per day

What is held here

Everything generated by the Corporation of London, the London County Council, the Greater London Council, and assorted bits and pieces from other charitable and non-profit bodies (from the Peabody Trust to English Heritage) that are relevant to London.

How to use it

The LMA has recently been refurbished and seems much more modern and helpful than it used to be. Head to Farringdon station, or park at the multi-storey car park on Bowling Green Lane, and enter the LMA by the small and unimportant looking door at the east end of Northampton Road. Sign in at reception and go straight upstairs to the mezzanine cloakroom, where you need to leave all bags and other trappings of modern society.

Upstairs on the first floor is the reading room. If you haven't been before you will need a History Card - this is free, but you'll need proof of ID. You can do most of the registration from home before you go - see the website. Your History Card lets you access archive material and also holds printer and photocopier credit.

Order material by searching the online catalogue or looking through index folders and filling in an old-fashioned pink slip. Staff are very helpful. Once you have a History Card you can browse the catalogue and order items from home before you go. They arrive quickly - usually within about half an hour - at the desk in the main reading room. The online catalogue isn't yet complete, however, and it's well worth checking the printed index catalogues too, just to make sure you don't miss something interesting.

In the reading room, you can only take one file or bundle of documents at a time, which often means a lot of getting up and sitting down again. However, once a box is out you can look at any part of it - even if it contains multiple file references of which you only ordered one. This can sometimes allow you to stumble on things of great interest by accident. You can also ask the reading room staff to keep hold of items rather than send them back to the stacks if you want to return to them, but do let them know when you've finished your visit and your requests are no longer needed.

Use of cameras is now permitted, and costs £3 per day. Pay at the information desk and take the receipt to the desk in the reading room, where you will be issued a copyright form to fill in. Note down the file references of any documents you photograph and hand the form back at the end of your visit. The usual rules (no flash, no noises, etc) apply.

The mezzanine locker room has tables and chairs for lunch, and a vending machine with snacks and coffee, but for food you'll need to go elsewhere. There are shops and cafes within ten minutes' walk on Farringdon Road.

Items found here

See the full list for this establishment.