Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives

Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives Tower Hamlets' Local History Library and Archives covers the area of the present-day London Borough of Tower Hamlets; the original East End of London which, until 1965, comprised of the Boroughs of Bethnal Green, Poplar and Stepney.

If you are interested in a building in the borough, tracing your ancestors who lived here, doing a school or college project on some aspect of the borough or are just feeling nostalgic, we may well be able to help you.

Operating as usual

#blackhistorymonth2020 Check out our Local History Podcasts Online. Discover Black History in Archives from experts at U...
15/10/2020

#blackhistorymonth2020 Check out our Local History Podcasts Online. Discover Black History in Archives from experts at UCL and The Black Cultural Archives. Including The Michael Banton Archives, Author of 'The Coloured Quarter' 1955 http://ow.ly/EOWD50BT3vQ

Good Friday Procession Cable Street c.1961 #blackhistorymonth2020 By the 1950s many black residents had settled in Stepn...
01/10/2020

Good Friday Procession Cable Street c.1961 #blackhistorymonth2020 By the 1950s many black residents had settled in Stepney, Cable Street known as ‘the Harlem of London’. Majority of these residents were men coming to England aboard trading ships from the Caribbean and West Africa

ONE WEEK LEFT to apply for our 'Bangladesh 50 Years' Citizen Researcher role! You will:- Research unique collections on ...
24/09/2020

ONE WEEK LEFT to apply for our 'Bangladesh 50 Years' Citizen Researcher role! You will:

- Research unique collections on 1971 Liberation war + its impact on East End
- Collaborate on a exciting new artist commission
- Get paid for your time

Full details: https://cutt.ly/MfVOfkj #BD50

Have you taken photos, written a diary, or created artwork? We want to document life in Tower Hamlets during the pandemi...
22/09/2020

Have you taken photos, written a diary, or created artwork? We want to document life in Tower Hamlets during the pandemic for future generations.

Check the link, upload & we'll look forward to adding more to the history of the East End: http://ow.ly/zy3r50Bwoti

Bike Ride Fundraiser for Tower Hamlets' COVID-19 response Save the date for RIDE ON!  10.10.20Ride 10k with Bromley by B...
21/09/2020
RIDE ON Cycling Fundraiser

Bike Ride Fundraiser for Tower Hamlets' COVID-19 response
Save the date for RIDE ON!
10.10.20
Ride 10k with Bromley by Bow Centre
Spread the word. Nominate friends to ride, donate, or both!
Get involved: http://bit.ly/BowRideOn
🚲💚

Help Bromley change the world! Make a donation now

We're back! 😎😷After six long months we'll be re-opening our doors on 29 September for pre-booked appointments.You can em...
21/09/2020

We're back! 😎😷

After six long months we'll be re-opening our doors on 29 September for pre-booked appointments.

You can email us today to book a slot, and please see our website for details on the temporary changes to our service: https://www.ideastore.co.uk/local-history-visitor-information

See you all soon!

Are you interested in the history of the Bangladeshi community in the East End and the impact of the 1971 Liberation War...
16/09/2020

Are you interested in the history of the Bangladeshi community in the East End and the impact of the 1971 Liberation War?

Work with us as a paid Citizen Researcher to explore our collections + support a exciting new public art commission as part of our Bangladesh 50 Years Project

Deadline 1st Oct

Full Details: http://www.towerhamletsarts.org.uk/?cat=15&cid=72099&guide=ArtsInfo
#BD50

A huge thank you to everyone who has taken part and contributed to our Covid Collecting project, Making History: documen...
09/09/2020

A huge thank you to everyone who has taken part and contributed to our Covid Collecting project, Making History: documenting coronavirus in the East End. Your submissions will help broaden our collections and help future generations understand one of the most significant events this country has ever experienced.

Get involved at: http://ow.ly/a65K50BlJ2u

PAID FREELANCE ROLE ALERT! We are looking for a Digital Producer to document the activities of our exciting new project ...
04/09/2020

PAID FREELANCE ROLE ALERT!

We are looking for a Digital Producer to document the activities of our exciting new project Bangladesh 50 Years, a community based participatory research and creative project will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh independence in Tower Hamlets.

The digital producer will document the activities of a group of ‘citizen researchers’ led by an artist. Together they
will undertake unique archival research to inform a new artwork for public display.

 Mid-September 2020-early April 2021
 Fixed fee: £3000
 Closing date: Monday 7 September 2020 9am

Full brief can be found here:https://www.npg.org.uk/assets/files/pdf/jobs/Digital-Producer.pdf

A big thank you for the brilliant images received & to all who have added to our archive documenting life in Tower Hamle...
03/09/2020

A big thank you for the brilliant images received & to all who have added to our archive documenting life in Tower Hamlets during the pandemic. We welcome lots more. Check the link, upload and we’ll look forward to adding to the history of the East End: http://ow.ly/nLSc50BgFKg

ATTENTION CREATIVES! The Lead Artist role for our new project Bangladesh 50 Years will close in JUST TWO DAYS! Read on t...
30/08/2020

ATTENTION CREATIVES! The Lead Artist role for our new project Bangladesh 50 Years will close in JUST TWO DAYS! Read on to find out more...

Bangladesh 50 Year - Lead Artist

A freelance visual artist is sought to lead a participatory research and creative project commemorating the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh independence in Tower Hamlets. You will be responsible for developing a new artwork for outdoor public display, informed by archival research and co-produced with a group of ‘citizen researchers’ drawn from stakeholder communities.

This is a collaborative project between National Portrait Gallery and Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives.

Timeframe: Mid-September 2020-early April 2021
Fixed fee: £5000
Deadline: Tuesday 1 September 2020 9am

Full BRIEF http://www.artsjobs.org.uk/arts-job/post/lead-artist-bangladesh-50-years-tower-hamlets/

27/08/2020
P_COV_2_10_3.mp4

Help us create a collaborative history of living in Tower Hamlets during lockdown. We are collecting:
- audio visual content
- photographs
- posters and leaflets
- diaries
- artwork
- poetry and prose

Get involved: http://ow.ly/gkvp50B9KVc

We are excited to be partnering with the National Portrait Gallery and steered by many wonderful minds from the Banglade...
26/08/2020

We are excited to be partnering with the National Portrait Gallery and steered by many wonderful minds from the Bangladeshi community to mark 50 years since the independence of Bangladesh in 2021 in our new project 'Bangladesh 50 Years' a collaborative research project which will culminate in a public creative commission and a Bangladesh 50 Festival running between Feb-March 2021.

There's a few creative opportunities! We are looking for a Lead Artist and a Digital Producer. Deadlines are very soon, so please click through to find out more:

Lead Artist
https://www.npg.org.uk/assets/files/pdf/jobs/lead-artist-for-bangladesh-50-years.pdf

Digital Producer
https://www.npg.org.uk/assets/files/pdf/jobs/Digital-Producer.pdf

Project Page:
https://www.ideastore.co.uk/bangladesh-50-years

Spread the word!

Image courtesy of Ansar Ahmed Ullah, Swadhinata Trust

Need inspiration for your #staycation? In the Summer of 1930 Charlie Freeman was working for the Hewitts (coal merchants...
20/08/2020

Need inspiration for your #staycation? In the Summer of 1930 Charlie Freeman was working for the Hewitts (coal merchants). When trade was slow he took the family to the hop-fields at Paddock Wood, Kent. Charlie Freeman at the top #LoveCultureWeek #StaySafe
Ref: #IHT/ho045

A reminder that we need your help to create a collaborative history  of living in Tower Hamlets during lockdown. We are ...
05/08/2020

A reminder that we need your help to create a collaborative history of living in Tower Hamlets during lockdown. We are collecting:
- audio visual content
- photographs
- posters and leaflets
- diaries
- artwork
- poetry and prose

Get involved: http://ow.ly/HDw250AN7RJ

Answers to the emoji quiz! How many did you get right?Number 7 and number 12 were awkward emoji clues...#FridayFun #Quiz
31/07/2020

Answers to the emoji quiz! How many did you get right?

Number 7 and number 12 were awkward emoji clues...

#FridayFun #Quiz

Who's up for a bit of Friday fun? Can you name these Tower Hamlets locations from the emojis? Answers coming your way at...
31/07/2020

Who's up for a bit of Friday fun?
Can you name these Tower Hamlets locations from the emojis?
Answers coming your way at 5pm!
#FridayFun #Quiz

We want you to share with us digital items about your experience during lockdown, so we can create an archive that will ...
30/07/2020

We want you to share with us digital items about your experience during lockdown, so we can create an archive that will help future generations understand our lives and the environment we are currently living in. Get involved by heading over to: http://ow.ly/xgKV50AM32q

On our final instalment of #HomeWorkingWednesday we introduce Tamsin! "Hello, my name is Tamsin & I have been working at...
22/07/2020

On our final instalment of #HomeWorkingWednesday we introduce Tamsin!

"Hello, my name is Tamsin & I have been working at THLHLA for 11 years as Heritage Manager. My post was created to lead on developing the collections & service to become a multifunctional heritage centre for the East End. There is no borough museum, yet our collections are as exciting & important as what you'd expect to find in one.

I’m responsible for big picture stuff, such as building works. We’ve had 3 in the last decade, but more investment is sorely needed. I'm working on options for a new capital project to expand our storage facilities to allow another 30 years' worth of growth. At the same time our exhibitions & events spaces could do with modernising & having hot running water would be nice too!

In the last decade we’ve hosted a range of exhibitions & events which have seen audiences increase at least fourfold - all thanks to my amazing colleagues who come up with great ideas & pluck items from our collections to illustrate them. I also work with the Archives Manager & collections staff although I am by no means as expert as they are, so apologies if your visit to the Reading Room happens to be when I'm on the desk!

Another key part of my role is supporting community heritage groups who approach us for specialist advice, eg on funding bids. We work regularly with national institutions & small local groups on a range of heritage themes. In 2021 we will be marking two important anniversaries – the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh independence & the Poplar Rates Rebellion centenary.

It’s a huge honour (& challenge!) to safeguard the histories of Tower Hamlets & it’s a privilege also to live here, in Bow, where in better times I often can be found supporting our superb local hostelries. The prime beneficiaries of lockdown however are my dogs. Regulars at our exhibition launches may recognise the smaller of the two, Sybil, who occasionally makes a cameo appearance in search of crisps."

Today we’re sharing with you some of the wonderful submissions we’ve received so far as part of COVID-19 collecting proj...
09/07/2020

Today we’re sharing with you some of the wonderful submissions we’ve received so far as part of COVID-19 collecting projects.
- Life During Lockdown: COVID-19 collecting volunteer project: http://ow.ly/N4VR50AsUPv
- Making History: documenting coronavirus in the East End survey: https://talk.towerhamlets.gov.uk/coronavirus-collection

These projects aim to create an archive that will help future generations understand our lives and the environment we are currently living in and help them meet challenges they may face.

If this has inspired you and you want share with us your experience and digital items of life during lockdown please get involved by heading over to our website: http://ow.ly/xscj50AsURu

Today on #HomeWorkingWednesday we introduce Debbie!"Hello, I’m Debbie and I am a Heritage Coordinator here at Tower Haml...
08/07/2020

Today on #HomeWorkingWednesday we introduce Debbie!

"Hello, I’m Debbie and I am a Heritage Coordinator here at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives.

My usual duties include helping readers in our reading room with their research, answering mail & telephone enquiries, as well as admin duties such as ordering supplies and taking room bookings.

During lockdown, like everyone on the team I’m working from home, & luckily I am still able to continue with most of my tasks. These include answering email enquiries, continuing to catalogue our large collection of digital scans of picture postcards & compiling lots of charts & reports illustrating our service performance delivery over the last year & fine tuning data collection methods for the upcoming year.

I have also been scouring our catalogue to find collections, files & library items that document the borough’s historical records relating to health & welfare for our upcoming new series of user guides. I am also helping with the induction of our new Heritage Coordinator (Public Access), Sanjida, which is a little tricky to do remotely, but I’m sure we’ll manage somehow! Having such supportive colleagues is amazing, & it’s great to see them all during our weekly online staff meetings.

I’m mainly working at my kitchen table as my partner is also working from home in our living room, which is by a window & so I have a lovely view of the trees & rooftops of my South London neighbourhood. Although sitting by the fridge all day is a test of willpower – luckily the fruit bowl is on hand to save me from myself…

I’m sure I’ll see you all again when we reopen – until then, stay safe!"

Today #HomeWorkingWednesday we introduce Halima!"Hi, I’m Halima, one of the Heritage Officers for Tower Hamlets Local Hi...
01/07/2020

Today #HomeWorkingWednesday we introduce Halima!

"Hi, I’m Halima, one of the Heritage Officers for Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives. I’m responsible for learning and participation which means you will usually find me hosting talks, workshops, film screenings or schools sessions in our Education Room. These are all inspired by our collections, exploring topics such as housing, migration, local artists, political activism and more. Sometimes you might notice me hosting groups in our exhibitions, delivering tours or running off to schools and community centres to deliver sessions off site, my pink suitcase trailing behind me.

All of this activity has halted due to the pandemic, to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors and we miss all of our attendees.

In the meantime we have been conducting polls to engage our online audiences on what events you would like us to deliver online. We have responded by making our recent exhibitions available. Please head over to our website (https://www.ideastore.co.uk/local-history-online-exhibitions-bethnal-green-disaster) to see ‘Bethnal Green Tube Disaster: The Women’s Perspective’ and tune into our virtual talks.

We also look forward to reinstating our popular East End History Club and film screenings virtually. These will be hosted on Zoom and film screenings on Facebook Watch Party, so please keep an eye out on our social media channels and newsletter. ‘See’ you all soon."

We are still taking bookings for our East End History Quiz taking place next Thursday! Rounds include; General Knowledge...
29/06/2020

We are still taking bookings for our East End History Quiz taking place next Thursday! Rounds include; General Knowledge, picture rounds and some real brain teasers. Come and share in the nostalgia of all things East End! Book Now http://ow.ly/OUfj50Aks2N

Our COVID-19 collecting project, Making History: documenting coronavirus in the East End is live!Share with us your expe...
24/06/2020

Our COVID-19 collecting project, Making History: documenting coronavirus in the East End is live!

Share with us your experience and digital items about your experience during lockdown, so we can create an archive that will help future generations understand our lives and the environment we are currently living in and help them meet challenges they may face.

For more information and to submit your records through our new digital platform, please head over to https://talk.towerhamlets.gov.uk/coronavirus-collection

Our final day of #Refugeeweek2020 During the late 1980s and early 1990s many thousands of Somalis fled to the UK, to esc...
23/06/2020

Our final day of #Refugeeweek2020 During the late 1980s and early 1990s many thousands of Somalis fled to the UK, to escape decades of civil war. During this period the Somali population in the borough of Tower Hamlets more than trebled. Somalis began to hold regular protests in London seeking to bring international attention to the dictatorship, the plight of refugees and the civil rights emergency in their homeland. Image taken from newspaper cutting taken from the East End News,1985

Celebrating #WindrushDay and the contributions to rebuilding the country post WWII. This image from our cuttings collect...
22/06/2020

Celebrating #WindrushDay and the contributions to rebuilding the country post WWII. This image from our cuttings collection shows a newspaper article from the East London Advertiser, November 1959. It includes a photo of UK Commissioner for the West Indies Garnet Gordon, and Q.R. Jobson Editor of the Anglo-Caribbean News established that year in Harley-Grove, Bow. It was hoped the newspaper would be ‘channeling more news between the Caribbean and England. By doing so strengthen the bond and friendship between the West Indies and Great Britain’

'Windrush: Portrait of a Generation' A Photo Essay by Jim Grover hosted at the Arts Pavillion, Mile End.  Jim spent time...
22/06/2020

'Windrush: Portrait of a Generation' A Photo Essay by Jim Grover hosted at the Arts Pavillion, Mile End. Jim spent time with the Caribbean community in South London, capturing first generation of Caribbean migrants in their everyday lives #WindrushDay
https://www.windrushportraitofageneration.com/images-1

#WindrushDay The Backyard Project featuring our collections explores the importance of oral history within London’s Afro...
22/06/2020

#WindrushDay The Backyard Project featuring our collections explores the importance of oral history within London’s Afro-Caribbean community. The archive takes the form of an audio portrait of a people, place and time — featuring a variety voices and perspectives from the heart of London’s East End.
https://backyardproject.org/

#Refugeeweek2020 After the Vietnam War ended in 1975 many refugees arrived into the Britain via Hong Kong (a British Col...
21/06/2020

#Refugeeweek2020 After the Vietnam War ended in 1975 many refugees arrived into the Britain via Hong Kong (a British Colony at the time). Many of these Vietnamese refugees settled in Tower Hamlets. In this image taken from the East End Life newspaper 1995, Vietnam Refugee Community celebrates a traditional Children’s festival in the Methodist Mission, East India Dock Road.

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277 Bancroft Road
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E1 4DQ

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