Westminster City Archives

Westminster City Archives Archives Centre and Local Studies Library for City of Westminster We're the premier destination for exploring the social, economic and cultural history of City of Westminster.

Nestled in a quiet street, just a stone's throw from Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, City of Westminster Archives Centre houses a host of manuscript sources, historic photographs, prints, books, maps, and much more, unlocking the door to the past of our fascinating city. Our special Art and Design Collection has been recognised as being of national importance, and our extensive The

Nestled in a quiet street, just a stone's throw from Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, City of Westminster Archives Centre houses a host of manuscript sources, historic photographs, prints, books, maps, and much more, unlocking the door to the past of our fascinating city. Our special Art and Design Collection has been recognised as being of national importance, and our extensive The

Operating as usual

Today we are sharing four interior views of a building that no longer exists. These were taken in Huntsworth Terrace in ...
15/09/2021

Today we are sharing four interior views of a building that no longer exists. These were taken in Huntsworth Terrace in 1950, shortly before its demolition to make way for the Church Street Estate.

Archive ref: T138 Huntsworth Terrace (003d)

Image Descriptions: Four black and white photographs montaged together, numbered 8 – 11 on the black background surrounding them. The general impression of the scenes is shabbiness and dirt.

The top left one is a view towards the ceiling of the corner of a room. Wallpaper is hanging down around a large hole in the ceiling plaster and the laths can be seen. Below to the left is the top of the double doors of a built-in painted wooden cupboard and to the right the top of the back of a closed door with jackets and coats hanging from hooks.

The top right one shows the beginnings of stairs down on the left, with a landing/corridor beyond. There are two closed doors off to the left, one at the end, and possibly more on the right. There is worn paint on the walls, in a darker shade below than above. The balustrade on the stairs seems to have a make-shift repair to replace some of the spindles by joining some of them horizontally with several pieces of wood.

The bottom left one shows the corner of a room. A chair with an upholstered seat and a simple open back with one decorative crossbar stands in front of a fireplace. Various pictures hang on the walls. The mantel piece has various containers on it and a mirrored overmantel. The fireplace has a hob, a large and small oven, and an open grate. A large saucepan stands on the hob and an oven glove hangs on the wall to the right.

The bottom right one shows a bedroom. We see a bed with bedclothes and towels hanging from the ironwork at the end. On the walls are pictures and one shelf with various vessels on it. We glimpse one side of a partly open sash window with nets and a flimsy curtain.

Today we are sharing four interior views of a building that no longer exists. These were taken in Huntsworth Terrace in 1950, shortly before its demolition to make way for the Church Street Estate.

Archive ref: T138 Huntsworth Terrace (003d)

Image Descriptions: Four black and white photographs montaged together, numbered 8 – 11 on the black background surrounding them. The general impression of the scenes is shabbiness and dirt.

The top left one is a view towards the ceiling of the corner of a room. Wallpaper is hanging down around a large hole in the ceiling plaster and the laths can be seen. Below to the left is the top of the double doors of a built-in painted wooden cupboard and to the right the top of the back of a closed door with jackets and coats hanging from hooks.

The top right one shows the beginnings of stairs down on the left, with a landing/corridor beyond. There are two closed doors off to the left, one at the end, and possibly more on the right. There is worn paint on the walls, in a darker shade below than above. The balustrade on the stairs seems to have a make-shift repair to replace some of the spindles by joining some of them horizontally with several pieces of wood.

The bottom left one shows the corner of a room. A chair with an upholstered seat and a simple open back with one decorative crossbar stands in front of a fireplace. Various pictures hang on the walls. The mantel piece has various containers on it and a mirrored overmantel. The fireplace has a hob, a large and small oven, and an open grate. A large saucepan stands on the hob and an oven glove hangs on the wall to the right.

The bottom right one shows a bedroom. We see a bed with bedclothes and towels hanging from the ironwork at the end. On the walls are pictures and one shelf with various vessels on it. We glimpse one side of a partly open sash window with nets and a flimsy curtain.

Panoramania! How London pioneered immersive entertainmentOnline talk by  Professor Ian Christie from City of Westminster...
14/09/2021
Panoramania! How London pioneered immersive entertainment

Panoramania! How London pioneered immersive entertainment

Online talk by Professor Ian Christie from City of Westminster Archives Centre

Friday 17 September 2021
6.30pm – 7.30pm

London was the panorama capital long before it became the capital of cinema. Join Professor Ian Christie to explore Panoramania!

Book your free place on Eventbrite: https://panoramania.eventbrite.co.uk

London was the panorama capital long before it became the capital of cinema. Join Professor Ian Christie to explore Panoramania!

On the fourth of September, Westminster Archives took part in Open House London. We had a series of fascinating film cli...
09/09/2021

On the fourth of September, Westminster Archives took part in Open House London.

We had a series of fascinating film clips running in our large meeting room, including film of an 18 foot long, nineteenth-century printed panorama of the Thames and some footage filmed in Marylebone in the 1950’s, before major demolition took place.

In our searchroom, visitors could look at a range of items on the theme ‘Open for Business.’ These included: historical directories and maps showing what businesses there were on and around Oxford Street in the past; various old images of shopping streets, market traders, and carts of wares, in media from watercolour to photography; restaurant menus from the 1930’s; and various historic images of ‘entertainment venues’, including Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and London Zoo.

The high point for many visitors was our conservation studio, which is never usually open to the public. Here, our conservator, Georgia, aided by a trusty conservation volunteer, talked people through and demonstrated the vital work that we do to preserve all the documents, prints, photographs, etc. that form part of Westminster’s heritage. Visitors also had the chance to get stuck into doing a bit of conservation work themselves, practicing archival repairs and dry cleaning of paper.



Image Descriptions: (1) A very long desk or table in our reading room has various items laid out on it – very large scale map sheets in predominantly pink, large hard-bound directories on foam supports that hold them open but not fully flat, and various physical image formats, some mounted, some in transparent protective sleeves. (2) Scene in our conservation studio. A conservator in a white lab coat and a face mask gestures towards some items lying on a bench, while visitors look on. In front we see the corner of a worktable with an old bound volume and some conservation materials lying on it. Behind is some large-scale conservation equipment, including a large lamp and a fume cupboard.

Today we are looking back at the history of Whiteley's departments store in Bayswater:In the 1890s, The London Magazine ...
08/09/2021

Today we are looking back at the history of Whiteley's departments store in Bayswater:

In the 1890s, The London Magazine published a 5-page practical article by William Whiteley entitled ‘How to Succeed as a Shopkeeper’. It was packed full of helpful advice for young businessmen to help them succeed.

He attributed a lot of his success to knowing his customers. He believed that if customers liked you, they would like your goods too. Customers should never be displeased, and difficult customers must be humored.

In terms of stock, Whiteley advised to never sell anything flashy, to sell with small margins, but to never give anything away. At the time of writing the article the store had over 70 departments and 6,000 assistants. One of the photographs from the archive shows Mrs Harriet Whiteley and seven "shopgirls" from Whiteley's Department Store.

As well as practical advice, Whiteley advised on the moral code needed by businessmen to succeed. He opens the article telling readers to “add your conscience to your capital...you may not have much capital, but it is your own fault if you have not as much conscience as a millionaire”.

He finishes the article expressing great pleasure that his sons joined him in the family business.

It is not known how this article was received at the time, as reading it 130+ years later it is hard to separate Whiteley's words from the reputation which has helped shaped his legacy.

Although Whiteley was incredible successful and enjoyed great business expansion, he was not the most liked man in the business world. Many local traders were upset with prices they could not match. The store experienced 4 suspicious fires and on one occasion a group of local businessmen even burned an effigy of him.

In January 1907 Whiteley was murdered outside his office. After a strained meeting with a then unidentified man in his mid-twenties, the mysterious visitor shot Whiteley dead, and then turned the gun on himself. Surviving the su***de attempt, the man was taken to St Mary‘s hospital and identified himself as Cecil Whiteley, William’s illegitimate son. William’s sons Frank and William (junior) denied this claim and no evidence to support it could be found.

Image description:
1. a picture of the article featuring a black and white photograph of Mr Whitley at his desk sitting on a wooden chair.
ref: 726/266
2. Black and white image with a view of the Whitley's store on Queensway, photographed on the corner it shows the large store stretching along 2 roads.
3.An black and white painted illustration of one of the fires at the store showing horse drawn fire engines going towards the blaze and people running away.
4. A photograph of Mrs Harriet Whiteley sitting in the centre surrounded by seven shopgirls, all of whom are wearing high necked Victorian style dresses in white and wearing large hats with flowers.

Today we are sharing a contemporaneous engraving of a now little-known but intriguing figure of the nineteenth century. ...
01/09/2021

Today we are sharing a contemporaneous engraving of a now little-known but intriguing figure of the nineteenth century. Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891) made a living for some of his life as a solicitor’s clerk, but was also a leading radical propagandist. He lived for a while in Circus Road, St John’s Wood, in our territory.

He was elected MP for Northampton on many occasions in the 1880’s, but had difficulty fulfilling his parliamentary duties because, as an atheist, he refused to take the necessary oath, which was couched in religious form. He was also opposed to the monarchy, advocated birth control, attended the Indian National Congress in Bombay in 1889, campaigned for a wider electoral franchise in Britain, and helped draft a manifesto for Irish republicans.

His most enduring directly and personally attributable legacy is probably the National Secular Society, which he founded in 1866 and headed for most of the rest of his life. It still exists, now campaigning under the rubric ‘Challenging Religious Privilege.’

Despite all this other radicalism, Bradlaugh was extremely and publicly opposed to socialism and to Marx, which may seem odd from a modern perspective.

Archive Ref: 0988/87

Image Description: Engraving, captioned at the bottom in florid script ‘Charles Bradlaugh M. P.’, showing a three-quarter, head-and-shoulders view of a man facing our right. He is rather overweight, clean-shaven, and middle-aged, with receding hair. He wears a jacket, shirt, and something like a very small bowtie.

Today we are sharing a contemporaneous engraving of a now little-known but intriguing figure of the nineteenth century. Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891) made a living for some of his life as a solicitor’s clerk, but was also a leading radical propagandist. He lived for a while in Circus Road, St John’s Wood, in our territory.

He was elected MP for Northampton on many occasions in the 1880’s, but had difficulty fulfilling his parliamentary duties because, as an atheist, he refused to take the necessary oath, which was couched in religious form. He was also opposed to the monarchy, advocated birth control, attended the Indian National Congress in Bombay in 1889, campaigned for a wider electoral franchise in Britain, and helped draft a manifesto for Irish republicans.

His most enduring directly and personally attributable legacy is probably the National Secular Society, which he founded in 1866 and headed for most of the rest of his life. It still exists, now campaigning under the rubric ‘Challenging Religious Privilege.’

Despite all this other radicalism, Bradlaugh was extremely and publicly opposed to socialism and to Marx, which may seem odd from a modern perspective.

Archive Ref: 0988/87

Image Description: Engraving, captioned at the bottom in florid script ‘Charles Bradlaugh M. P.’, showing a three-quarter, head-and-shoulders view of a man facing our right. He is rather overweight, clean-shaven, and middle-aged, with receding hair. He wears a jacket, shirt, and something like a very small bowtie.

We’re back on the Queen’s Park Estate today, after our posts about it in May and July went down so well. This is a photo...
25/08/2021

We’re back on the Queen’s Park Estate today, after our posts about it in May and July went down so well. This is a photograph taken in about 1955 of the maintenance staff of the Artizans', Labourers' and General Dwellings Company in their Depot behind Harrow Road Telephone Exchange and Droop Street. This company built and initially owned and maintained the estate.

Archive ref: P138 Queen's Park Estate (018)

Links to the previous posts: https://www.facebook.com/Westminster.Archives/posts/3831004560328517 and https://www.facebook.com/Westminster.Archives/posts/3967573643338274.

Image Description: Black and white photograph. At least 33 men, including a few teenagers, stand gathered close together and facing us for a portrait. They seem to be in a yard in front of a brick wall that reaches to a little above head height. They all wear boots and trousers with, above, an assortment of overcoats, suit-style jackets, ties, scarves, and hats that are mostly flat caps, with the odd Homburg or bowler. A man at our extreme right steadies a bicycle in front of him. Behind are visible what look like some light industrial buildings to do with the depot and the rear of some of the houses of the estate.

We’re back on the Queen’s Park Estate today, after our posts about it in May and July went down so well. This is a photograph taken in about 1955 of the maintenance staff of the Artizans', Labourers' and General Dwellings Company in their Depot behind Harrow Road Telephone Exchange and Droop Street. This company built and initially owned and maintained the estate.

Archive ref: P138 Queen's Park Estate (018)

Links to the previous posts: https://www.facebook.com/Westminster.Archives/posts/3831004560328517 and https://www.facebook.com/Westminster.Archives/posts/3967573643338274.

Image Description: Black and white photograph. At least 33 men, including a few teenagers, stand gathered close together and facing us for a portrait. They seem to be in a yard in front of a brick wall that reaches to a little above head height. They all wear boots and trousers with, above, an assortment of overcoats, suit-style jackets, ties, scarves, and hats that are mostly flat caps, with the odd Homburg or bowler. A man at our extreme right steadies a bicycle in front of him. Behind are visible what look like some light industrial buildings to do with the depot and the rear of some of the houses of the estate.

Today we are sharing some photographs of a property deed from our collection. It is a lease from the late eighteenth cen...
18/08/2021

Today we are sharing some photographs of a property deed from our collection. It is a lease from the late eighteenth century relating to land in Berkeley Street. But we are not interested in the text of the deed today; rather in one of the ways the parchment was prepared before anything was written on it, parchment being the term for an animal hide prepared to be a writing surface, as opposed to prepared as leather to be made into shoes, for example.

Our first photograph shows the MS fully opened out. The second shows one edge of the back of the sheet, while it is still only partially unfolded. Note the neat line of holes just inside the edge. The third photograph shows similar holes on an edge of the MS viewed from the side carrying the writing. Also visible are faint horizontal lines that each line of text ‘sits’ on, which are also a consistent distance under each of the holes. From handling the MS, it seems that these lines are score marks in the parchment surface, rather than pencil or other marks on it. This is all the result of the process known as pricking and ruling, by which space was defined on a parchment surface to make it ready for writing, the pricking being done to help align the subsequent ruling. The procedure dates back to the Early Middle Ages. This writer did courses on Mediaeval MS production as an undergraduate, but had not previously realised that this particular practice had survived so far into the print age.

For anyone interested in the general topic of Mediaeval MS production, there is a very good online exhibition here:

https://parker.stanford.edu/parker/feature/previous-exhibition-the-making-of-medieval-manuscripts

Image Descriptions (all colour photographs):

(1) A MS about 2 feet square lies on top of an archive trolley in a corridor in an archive storeroom. Ranks of rolling shelving and a set of mobile library steps appear in the background. Most of the MS is filled with dense, black, florid handwriting. The words ‘This Indenture’ appear at the top left in extra-large lettering. There are sets of parallel, thin, red border lines around the edge of the MS, a blue label of some kind in the left margin, and six red wax seals next to signatures across the bottom. Large folds can be seen dividing the MS broadly into squares.

(2) Close-up showing partly back and partly front of the MS. The back surface is marked and dirty; the front shows some red border lines and some florid handwriting in black, as well as the pricking holes as described above.

(3) Close-up of part of the right-hand edge of the front of the MS, showing the border lines, some handwriting, and the pricking and ruling as described above.

Archive Ref: DD 0273

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Comments

Just to let you know that I tried to include a donation, but EventBright kept assuming I needed to sign up a friend. So without a donation, I got a ticket. Don't understand it.
Hi, I have in the past used parish registers kept in Westminster Archives on Find My Past. But I now find they are not there, although the accompanying index entries are. Have the registers been removed from FMP and where can I find them now?
LMA (Lisboa Metropolitan Area) and the Lioz Limestone Selection Environment Influence, by Laurindo Amorim This manuscript covers a lot of ground, delving into the history, archaeology, and even chemistry of Lioz limestone with the selection environment influence and other types of stones in Portugal. Describes the countless utilities that can be used with stone. As well as making known the role of some places in the Lisboa Metropolitan Area in the distribution of the stone in various places around the world. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087L2YX5J?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860
Does anyone remember the Grand Slam Club? It ceased trading around the mid 1960s. Jimmy Stone owned it. We are researching family history and trying to find out more.
The adventure starts here, with a picture from the Westminter Archives...
I've used the Westminster City Archives for decades. It's first-rate research facility. Its people are reliably helpful & pleasant. Thank You.
This is one of my favourite places to do research.
Am big enthusiast of the Westminster Archive - Happy New Year to all there.
About the value of libraries!
Dear Westminster City Archives This week the Lost Cousins newsletter (https://www.lostcousins.com/newsletters2/midjul17news.htm) reports on an exciting collection of 1915 National Registration - 9 boxes containing over 13000 forms. When I consulted the online catalogue I found just 2 items matching the search terms 'national registration'. So diappointing! The newsletter contributor has made a good start on a description of this collection, so please update the catalogue with some alacrity.
Searching for the removal records of bodies removed from St. Martin in the Fields.