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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): COL/LBD/GHL
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1875 - 19--
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 0.5 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Corporation of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Guildhall has had a library since 1425, founded as part of a bequest by Mayor Richard Whittington. However, in 1550 the books were removed by the Duke of Somerset for his palace in the Strand and all but one of the original books is now lost. The survivor is a late 13th century Latin Bible. In 1828 a new Guildhall Library was established with the remit to collect material relating to the history and topography of the City of London, Southwark and Middlesex, including prints and drawings. This library was quite small and was rebuilt in 1873. In 1940 the library was hit by enemy action and 25,000 volumes were lost to the subsequent fire, with thousands more affected by water damage.

The collection is now of designated national and international importance and strengths include works on the history of London, English law reports, wine and food (including the Elizabeth David Collection), clocks and clockmakers (including the library of the Clockmaker's Guild), business history, marine history (material deposited by Lloyds of London), The Gardeners' Company collection (historic books on gardening), The Fletchers' Company collection (books on archery), the Gresham College collection (17th and 18th century music and early travel and exploration), the Cock Collection (material on Sir Thomas More), the Charles Lamb Society collection, the Chapman Bequest (19th century plays), the Hamilton Bequest (18th and 19th century plays), the Pepys Collection (Samuel Pepys) and a collection of 18th, 19th and 20th century books on shorthand.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Guildhall Library, comprising office files on various subjects including staff instructions for air raids, evacuation of books, manuscripts and artworks and their storage during World War Two, damage sustained during World War Two and the subsequent reconstruction of the Library, list of artworks destroyed during World War Two, Public Libraries Acts 1892-1919, maintenance, notable collections, inventory and valuation of furniture and fittings, duties of the librarians, staff entertainments including annual staff dinners, relevant byelaws, insurance policies, donations, deposits and bequests, Art Gallery bequests and deposits and guidebooks and brochures.

Also petition asking for longer evening opening hours, 1875; petition in favour of Sunday opening, 1879 and petition opposing Sunday opening, 1879.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

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:

For Corporation of London records relating to museums, libraries and art galleries, see: CLA/076: Museum of London, COL/AC: Archives, COL/CC/BRA: Barbican Arts Centre Joint Working Party (Arts Centre), COL/CC/BRC: Barbican Centre Committee, COL/CC/GHY: Guildhall Yard East Building Committee, COL/CC/LIB: Libraries, Guildhall Art Gallery and Archives Committee, COL/CC/LMC: Library and Museum Committee, COL/CC/MLB: Museum of London Board of Governors, COL/LBD/AD: Libraries and Art Galleries: Administration, COL/LBD/AG: Libraries and Art Galleries: Guildhall Art Gallery, COL/LBD/GHL: Libraries and Art Galleries: Guildhall Library and COL/LBD/MUS: Libraries and Art Galleries: Guildhall Museum.

Publication note:

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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