Local history

Tower Hamlets Council keeps a record of all births, marriages and deaths that have taken place in the borough since official registration began in 1837. The council also has extensive archives of documents on the borough itself, including parish registers, maps, plans, photographs, newspaper clippings and other historic documents, which can provide an insight into the history of the Tower Hamlets.

Whether you want to trace your family history or discover more about the history of Tower Hamlets borough, the council may well be able to help.

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives has substantial holdings of archives relating to the borough, including:

  • local authority records dating from the 16th century, minutes, rate books and correspondence files
  • over 8,000 deeds recording the transfer of properties in the borough
  • documents relating to many local institutions.

The library collections include:

  • over 20,000 books and pamphlets dating from the 17th century to the present day 
  • electoral registers for Tower Hamlets from 1901
  • trade directories from 1800 
  • cuttings collection which includes newspaper articles and printed ephemera
  • 25,000 photographs and illustrations
  • over 2,000 maps and plans dating from 16th century to the present day 
  • over 500 periodical titles, including local newspapers from 1841 on microfilm 
  • local census returns from 1841 to 1891 and parish registers on microfilm.