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Visitor Information

You are welcome to drop in without an appointment during our opening hours.

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives is open at the following times for visitors to our Reading Room:

Tuesday and Wednesday 10.30am – 4.00pm

Thursday 10.30am – 7.00pm

Saturdays as follows
•    1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month, 10.00am – 5.00pm

Saturday opening dates in early 2022 are

1 January - CLOSED Bank Holiday
15 January

5 February
19 February

5 March
19 March

It is a requirement to wear a face covering in our building unless you are exempt. This is due to the rapid transmission of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.

Our 19th century stone frontage is being repaired. Scaffolding is on our building until the end of March 2022. We will remain open during this time.

The Vanishing East End: Documentary photography from the 70s and 80s photography exhibition is open:

Monday - Friday
10.00am - 5.00pm

From November 2021 the exhibition times are extended as follows

•    1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month, 10.00am – 5.00pm
•    Thursday evening opening until 7.00pm 

Visit our what's on page for events. Keep updated on changes to our services, subscribe to our newsletter.


Accessing collections in our Reading Room

You are welcome to drop-in without an appointment but if our Reading Room tables are in use you will be asked to queue or return later.

If you are travelling to us and need to ensure you will be able to access collections on your planned visit, please email us in advance to reserve a table. Request a morning (10.30am-1pm) and/or afternoon (1pm-4pm) appointment during the times above, and we will book you in. Please allow at least two working days’ notice.

There will be a reduced Reading Room capacity with some tables for walk-ins and other tables for booked appointments.


What we need from you

You will not need to order documents in advance, however we encourage you to plan your research visit. 

  • Explore our research guides and collections catalogue to get a head start. These will help you identify items that you want to look at. If you’re not sure what to choose, email us the details of your query in good time. We will help you identify which material will be most useful. You will need to provide reference numbers for the items you would like to see when you get here.
  • For further information and to reserve a table, email Our inbox is monitored Monday-Friday.
  • Our telephone 020 7364 1290 will be answered during our opening hours.
  • If you have not already registered as a user, we will ask you to complete our registration form. Bring it to your appointment along with your ID (proof of permanent address).
  • Do not visit us if you have COVID-19 symptoms or live with someone who does. Please consult Government guidance.


How we are keeping you safe

The safety of our visitors and staff is paramount. We will be observing government guidelines.

  • There will be a reduced Reading Room capacity with some tables for walk-ins and other tables for booked appointments.
  • Tables are positioned at least 2m from the surrounding tables. The helpdesk is fitted with a Perspex screen.
  • Visitors and staff must wear a face covering unless exempt. Observe social distancing when moving around the building and browsing shelves.
  • Signage will guide you through the building and encourage social distancing. 
  • Hand sanitiser will be available.
  • Toilet facilities on ground floor will be available.
  • Track and Trace: we will continue to collect relevant personal contact data on arrival from all visitors until arrangements change. This will be shared with the relevant authorities as required. Please see Government regulations.

How can I reach Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives?

Local underground and National Rail stations (external link) are open and bus services are running.

map of the area (external link)

By public transport

Nearest tube: Stepney Green (5-minute walk)

Bus Routes: 25 and 205 along Mile End Road

By car

There are a limited number of pay and display parking spaces in the surrounding roads as well as parking spaces for Tower Hamlets resident's permit holders.

Disabled access
Our building has a ramp and lift and is accessible to wheelchair users.

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ
Phone: 020 7364 1290


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accredited archive service logoTower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives was awarded Accreditation in March 2018.