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Local history collections

Find out about the local history information, resources and collections available to visitors to the centre.

Collection Policy

Our collection and acquisition policy and statement of aims

History books

A large collection of books about the history of Islington and aspects of local life.

‘Streets with a story: the book of Islington’
(An A-Z local street gazetteer)

Local maps 

Maps from the 1700s onwards, including large-scale Ordnance Survey maps from the 1870s. 


Photographs, paintings, drawings and engravings of local scenes, places, people and events. 

Our collection of oil paintings is now available to view free online on the BBC's Your Paintings website

Newspapers, periodicals and cuttings

Local newspapers, church and business magazines from the 19th century onwards, including the 'Islington Gazette' on microfilm from 1856 to date. Also, a large collection of cuttings on Islington related topics from newspapers, journals and books. 

Pamphlets and ephemera

A wide range of documents including leaflets, handbills, trade cards, programmes and playbills, commercial receipts and invoices and advertisements. 

Electoral registers

Registers for the area now covered by the London Borough of Islington from 1873 to date. 

Street and trade directories

Directories are available from the early 19th century onwards, listing businesses and some residents’ details. 

Census returns

Microfilm copies of the Finsbury and Islington census areas from 1841 to 1901 at ten-year intervals. 

Workhouse records

18th and 19th century Clerkenwell Workhouse settlement examination books. Also, 19th century admission and discharge books, indoor and outdoor relief books and other selected records for Clerkenwell. 

Parish registers

Microfilm copies of baptism, marriage and burial registers for St Mary Islington parish (16th to late 19th centuries). Also printed copies of St James Clerkenwell parish registers from 1551 to 1754. 

Local authority records

Records of the vestries of St James Clerkenwell, St Luke Old Street and St Mary Islington, including minute books and rate books. Records of the metropolitan boroughs of Finsbury and Islington, including council and committee minutes, rate books and publications. Other material including records related to various local baths, including Ironmonger Row baths. 

First World War resources

A small amount of material including photographs and books. 

Second World War resources 

Civil defence records for the former metropolitan boroughs of Islington and Finsbury, plus bomb damage photographs and maps, newspaper cuttings and books.

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