Museum of London Library

Due to constraints placed on our services by Covid-19, we are not currently able to offer appointments to external researchers. We hope to resume this service by the end of the year, but due to these uncertain times we cannot guarantee a date. Please check back to this page for updates.

The information on this page relates to our usual procedures regarding accessing the collections. Research visits are currently suspended due to Covid-19. The following information is a reference for the future only.

The Museum of London Library is a last resort, reference-only collection specialised in the history, archaeology and social history of the city of London.

The Museum of London Librarian stands between the stacks holding an open book.

About the library

The Library holds around 40,000 volumes (including monographs, periodicals and maps) and covers subjects of interest to the museum such as the history and archaeology of London, museum studies and conservation, fashion, decorative and fine arts, and social history.

The Library has over 5,000 rare books, including some important individual collections: Bell Collection (on the Great Plague and Fire); Tangye Collection of Cromwelliania; Warwick Wroth Collection (scrapbooks on Vauxhall Gardens and South London Pleasure Gardens) and the Mary Young Papers (household papers of an early 19th century middle-class family). The Museum of London Library also includes the Port of London Authority library collection.

The library catalogue is available online. Please note we are currently improving our existing bibliographic records, editing data and adding controlled vocabulary to facilitate the discovery exercise; errors and duplication may occur during your search.

Access and enquiries

Access to the material held in the library is via the Research Room appointment system (see above). External researchers are welcome to enquire about items in our collection not broadly available in other libraries. Please send your enquiries to [email protected].

Making an appointment

To make an appointment please fill out the Research Visit Request Form. Be as specific as possible about what you wish to see and why. We will contact you to confirm the appointment. For more information, view the Research Visits page.

The Research Room

The Research Room is located at the museum’s main building in London Wall.

Opening times

The Research Room is open by appointment on Thursdays, 10am-1pm and 2-5pm.

Appointments must be booked in advance; drop-in users may not be accommodated.

Conditions of access

The first time you visit the Search Room you will need to show two forms of original identification, proof of your name with signature and proof of address.

All visits will also be subject to the terms published on the reverse of the Research Visit Request form, which you will be asked to sign on arrival.

You may take reference photographs of material, subject to physical condition and copyright restrictions, on signing a camera agreement and keeping an accurate list of what you have photographed.

Research Room facilities

The Research Room has lockers available to store personal possessions, a photocopier and power points for charging electronic devices.