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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): COL/CA
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1495-2004
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 92 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Corporation of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The office of Alderman (like that of Sheriff) predates the Norman Conquest but the first mention of an Alderman of London by name is not until 1111 while the place-name Aldermanbury appears in 1128. Each Alderman was responsible for administration of a Ward, and was elected by their Ward. The position of Alderman was held for life. In the 12th and 13th centuries the Wards in the City of London are still mainly identified by the name of their Alderman although the first full list of Wards under permanent names such as Dowgate or Cornhill is dated 1285. The roots of municipal government in the City of London are thus found in the activities of the Aldermen in their Wards which in the medieval period provided such public services as existed. Working individually, or in co-operation, the power of the Aldermen grew as the corporate unity of the City of London developed and they exercised both administrative and judicial functions in what became the Court of Aldermen.

The main administrative work of the City is recorded in the proceedings of the Court of Aldermen until the latter half of the 17th century. Civic control of trade and industry, of the police and prisons, of hospitals and poor relief, of citizenship, the companies and the Freedom, of markets and the Thames, and of water supply, sanitation and building, was exercised largely by the Aldermen. In modern times the activities of the Court have been confined mainly to the regulation of the City Livery Companies, Freedom through the Companies, and the administration of justice and elections.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Court of Aldermen, 1495-2004, including repertories (proceedings), 1495-1998; subject index to repertories, 1495-1857; fair minutes, 1691-1716; rough minutes, 1691-1932; Town Clerk's rough books, 1957-1996; draft minutes, 1801-1936 and 1941-1955; printed minutes, 1853-2000; signed printed minutes, 1940-2000; agendas, 1938-2003; special agendas, 1928-2000; papers read in the Court, 1663-2004; various petitions, 17th and 18th century; printed reports, 1713-1714 and 1997-1998; pocket books, 1828-1999; papers relating to the election of Aldermen, 1443-1941; list of the names of Aldermen, 1270-1898; various papers regarding the admission, attendance and role of Aldermen, 1611-1979. Please note that some records are closed.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections: Repertories, Minutes, Printed Minutes, Agendas, Papers, Reports, Miscellaneous, Pocket Books and Aldermen.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Corporation of London Records Office.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Proceedings of the Court of Aldermen prior to 1495 can be found in the Journals of the Court of Common Council (COL/CC).

Publication note:

For more historical information on the role of the Aldermen and the development of the Court of Aldermen, see The Corporation of London: its origin, constitution, powers and duties (Oxford University Press: 1950).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
February 2009

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