Port and River Archive access and enquiries

The port and river archive, which incorporates the Port of London Authority Archive, has records, publications and photographs relating to the working river, and films of the Thames from the 20th century. Book an appointment to view archive holdings or send a query to the archivist.

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.

About the port and river library

The Library, based at Museum of London Docklands, is formed largely from the collection of the Port of London Authority, and consists of around 10,000 volumes. It covers topics such as the Port of London, British and foreign ports, London, shipping and the Thames. The collection also contains various journals ranging from publications of local history to specialist publications like Mariner's Mirror.

Access to the material held in the library is via the Search Room appointment system. Please note that for security reasons the library is not accessible for browsing at present. As with the archive collections, books can be requested and brought through to the Search Room for you.

Ask the archivist

To make an enquiry concerning the collection, or if you would like to visit the archive, please email [email protected].

Depositing material in the Port and River Archive

Please read this document before contacting the museum regarding a potential donation.

Family history

This guide gives brief details of how to make a family history enquiry to the Port and River Archive, and the kinds of records we hold and do not hold. Please read it before submitting an enquiry.

The Search Room

The Search Room is located at the Museum of London Docklands, in the Sainsbury Gallery and Study Centre.

Opening times

The Search Room is open by appointment on Thursdays, 10.30am - 1pm and 2-4.30pm.

Appointments must be booked in advance, as cannot accommodate drop-in users.

Making an appointment

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

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.

Search room facilities

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

Contact us

The Port and River Archive

Museum of London Docklands
No. 1 Warehouse
West India Quay
London E14 4AL

email: [email protected]

tel: 0207 001 9850