Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section

Electronic Newsletter

Issue No. 8 Summer 2007


The newsletter is intended to keep you informed about the latest news from the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library. It is edited by Philippa Smith, Deputy Keeper of Manuscripts. Please feel free to forward it to anyone you think might like to read it. The newsletter now has over 275 subscribers. If you are not already on the mailing list, and would like to receive future issues, please email us at


Building works and closures: London Metropolitan Archives; The National Archives

Business as usual at Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section

Measuring Up: enquiry service statistics for April-June 2007

Cataloguing news: Parish of All Hallows Barking by the Tower; Gabriel, Wade & English; Association of Investment Trust Companies; Arthur Brown and Company; Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China

Torn to shreds (the fate of records not deemed worthy of permanent preservation)

The records of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen – exploring beyond the apprenticeship records

More Jobs for the Girls: the last word (a final response from a reader about the occupations of Christ’s Hospital girls)

Archives online: Lloyd’s of London Captains Registers indexes now available!

Guildhall Library’s Archive Awareness Campaign 2007 (featuring talks on St Paul’s Cathedral; slave trader turned slave abolitionist John Newton; fire insurance records for family and local history; and City of London freedom records; together with behind the scenes tours, and a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral Library)

Lunchtime lectures on City of London history (the architectural history of the Bank of England; the Great Fire of London; and a virtual tour from Clerkenwell to the City revealing places and people associated with the slave trade)

Guided tours of Guildhall Library (including electronic resources and sources for family historians)

Forthcoming events at London Metropolitan Archives

Archives for London seminars

Exhibitions: The Changing Face of Cheapside (Guildhall Library Print Room); A Visible Difference: Skin, race and identity 1720-1820 (Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons); Sion College (Lambeth Palace Library); How We Are: Photographing Britain (Tate Britain); Slavery and Justice: the legacies of Lord Mansfield and Dido Belle (Kenwood House)

Ancestors magazine (news of a recently published article on sources for family historians, contributed by the Manuscripts Section)

Timeline (a new publication from the Institute of Historical Research)

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2008

We welcome your views!

Contact details

Building works and closures: at LONDON METROPOLITAN ARCHIVES

London Metropolitan Archives’ public search rooms are being redesigned to provide a better environment for readers. This will affect both the Reference Room and the Reading Room and will mean that LMA will be closed to the public for a short period while the building works take place. When it re-opens, it will have more space for researchers including a new computer area to provide greater online access to digital sources.


LMA will therefore be shut from 4.45pm on Friday 2 November 2007 until 9.30am on Monday 21 January 2008.


For further details and news of other projects which will have an impact on the delivery of LMA’s public services, go to




If you are planning to visit The National Archives at Kew between August 2007 and March 2008 then please check first.


TNA is finalising plans to enable essential works to be carried out to the fabric of its building in Kew.  It will also take the opportunity to improve the layout of the reading rooms based on feedback from visitors. These enhancements will entail some building work.  As a result there will be disruption to services from late summer 2007 to spring 2008, including the possibility of closing the reading rooms for a short period of time.


TNA is in the process of confirming the timetable of building works, so is unable to provide any additional information at present.  However, specific information will be posted on the website at, and displayed at Kew and the Family Records Centre in Islington as soon as it becomes available.

Business as usual at Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section

Please note that the LMA closure DOES NOT affect Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section which remains open as usual, Monday to Saturday 9.30am-5.00pm, except for the August Bank Holiday weekend, and Christmas and the New Year period, as follows:


CLOSED Saturday 25 and Monday 27 August 2007.


CLOSED Monday 24-Wednesday 26 December 2007 inclusive, and Tuesday 1 January 2008.


Otherwise OPEN as usual including Saturdays 22 and 29 December 2007.


The statistics seem to be on a fairly even keel at the moment with no particularly dramatic increases or decreases, although May did see a 10% year on year decrease in visitors to the Manuscripts reading room, but a 20% rise in the number of written enquiries (mostly emails).

The Manuscripts Section continues to exceed its target of at least 85% of written enquiries answered within two days of receipt, with an average of nearly 99.9% answered within two days over the three month period. The City of London Corporation’s target is 100% within 10 days.

April 2007

573 visitors to the reading room (547 in 2006)

1174 documents produced in the reading room (1063)

206 written enquiries (208)

161 telephone calls (196)

Enquiry response time for written enquiries (target at least 85% answered within two days): 100% answered within two days; nearly 90% answered on the day of receipt.

May 2007

599 visitors to the reading room (657 in 2006)

1242 documents produced in the reading room (1372)

305 written enquiries (241)

197 telephone calls (216)

Enquiry response time: nearly 100% answered within two days; 92.5% answered on the day of receipt.

June 2007

625 visitors to the reading room (633 in 2006)

1325 documents produced in the reading room (1510)

226 written enquiries (184)

202 telephone calls (200)

Enquiry response time: 99.6% answered within two days; 93% answered on the day of receipt.


Charlie Turpie, Deputy Keeper of Manuscripts, who manages the section’s cataloguing programme, describes some recently catalogued records.

Parish of All Hallows Barking by the Tower

Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section has recently acquired microfilm copies of the parish registers, vestry minutes and churchwardens’ accounts of All Hallows Barking by the Tower. They have been catalogued as Guildhall Library Ms 38526-36.

The microfilm copies of the parish registers (Ms 38526-33) contain:

There are also microfilm copies of vestry minutes 1628-1829 (Ms 38534-5), and of churchwardens’ accounts 1628-1900 (Ms 38536).

The microfilms are available in the Manuscripts reading room microfilm cabinets, and can be consulted without appointment. The original records are kept at the church.

The church of All Hallows Barking by the Tower was founded in 675 by the abbey of Barking. An arch from the original Saxon church remains. The parish registers include entries for the baptism of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania (in 1644), and the marriage of John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States of America (in 1797). Visitors are welcome at the church which is open seven days a week. Access details are given on their website,

Gabriel, Wade & English

An additional deposit of records of Gabriel, Wade & English, timber merchants, was made in January 2007.

The business was established in 1770 by Christopher Gabriel, focusing on plane, looking-glass and chair manufacture. From around 1812 the company concentrated on the importation and sale of timber. The first batch of records of this company was received by Guildhall Library in 1995 (Ms 35740-58). This additional deposit has been catalogued as Ms 38514-25.

The recently-catalogued material includes a cash book, 1822-48 (Ms 38514); lists of town and country debts, 1822-46 (Ms 38515); rent accounts, 1786-1848 (Ms 38521); and photographs of tree-felling, logging and timber constructions, 19th-mid 20th century (Ms 38523-4).

Association of Investment Trust Companies

The records of the Association of Investment Trust Companies, which were deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library by AITC in 2005, have now been catalogued.

AITC was formed in 1932 as the Association of Investment Trusts to represent the interests of investment trust companies, which had been in existence since 1868. Its General Committee met every second month, normally five times a year in London and once in Scotland.

The records in the collection comprise constitutional documents, minutes of various committees, annual reports and accounts and supporting papers, and financial material, along with many files of correspondence on particular subjects. The main series of files relates to the member companies of the association.

It should be noted that these records are held off-site and require 24 hours notice for access.

Arthur Brown and Company

A small collection of records of the firm Arthur Brown and Company, traders in naval stores, turpentine, tallow etc, has also been catalogued recently (Ms 38438-44). The records were given to Guildhall Library by a private individual in 2007.

Arthur H Brown founded the company in 1860. In 1871, when the firm was bought by William Thompson Burningham, it was listed as a firm of petroleum and colonial brokers. On Burningham's death the firm was taken on by his son, W J Burningham. The firm expanded significantly after World War I when it became one of the first importers of Russian oil. In 1968 ABCO Petroleum Ltd, as it had become known, became a subsidiary of the Sinclair Oil Corporation.

Amongst the handful of ledgers and other financial records, there are two interesting sketch books of staff, with caricatures and cartoons dating from 1931-47.

Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China

Assistant archivist, Wendy Hawke writes about the archive of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China which she has just finished cataloguing:

Chartered Bank, as it was known from 1956, was established by Royal Charter in 1853. It was an exchange bank, controlled from the City of London, with a network of branches and agencies throughout India and the Far East. Despite its name, the bank never operated in Australia.

Previously, only branch balance sheets were available to researchers (Ms 31519). To these we have added half yearly head office balance sheets 1858-1971 (Ms 38430) and returns 1859-1976 (Ms 38431-432). These records contain a wealth of detailed information about the bank’s financial activities.

Perhaps of more general interest are the returns of staff, 1854-1960 (Ms 38433-434) and bank premises (Ms 38435-437).

William Livingston was a typical recruit.  He joined the Bank in 1888 at the age of 21 and spent a couple of years training at head office. In 1890 he was posted to Rangoon as a sub-accountant. He then worked his way up the ladder and across the Far East, working in Akyab and Tientsin before becoming manager of the office at Shanghai. He resigned in 1916; the reason is not given.

European staff like William were only part of the picture, however: each branch or agency was supported by local staff in clerical and general roles.

Chew Team Eck was one of 14 local staff working at the Singapore branch in 1863. He was a clerk, earning 40 dollars a month (by way of comparison, the manager took home 650 dollars). The manager wrote of him that he was ‘a trustworthy good clerk but somewhat slow penman’, which seems harsh given that most of his work was not in his first language!

Fast forward to the Kobe agency in Japan in 1924. Here the agent, H L Mullins, was assisted by 15 European and senior local staff and no fewer than 84 additional local staff who worked as typists, clerks and coolies. This small army included Miss Obata and Miss Nagatini, ‘telephone girls’, and Messrs. Fukuda, ‘No 1 rickshawman’ and Yoshioka, ‘No 2 rickshawman’

The first overseas offices were opened in 1858. Premises might be rented from local landlords, as was the case in Manila where the office on the Plaza de Cervantes (opened 1872) was leased from the Corporation of the Order of Dominicans for 9300 pesos a year.

Sometimes, as in Shanghai, the Bank owned its premises. Built in 1869, the bank house was situated in the business quarter on the Bund. It also served as living accommodation: the manager, William Livingston, whom we have already met, lived in rooms above the front of the premises; five young sub-accountants lived in the junior mess at the back.

An inventory of property in the agent’s house at Batavia [now Jakarta] in 1865 gives a flavour of colonial living at this time. He kept a carriage and two pairs of ponies to take him about his business. In his free time he may have relaxed outside on a set of black veranda furniture, or sat under sail cloth sunshades. Inside, he had a choice of sofas and chairs in which to lounge and admire the flower tables (indispensable, no doubt) or he might fix a cool drink from the American ice chest. His household staff were not so fortunate: the inventory records the presence of ‘two bamboo outhouses for boys’ in the yard!

Please note that all Chartered Bank records are subject to a 45-year closure period, with a 70-year closure for specifically personnel records. The records are kept off-site and at least 24 hours notice is required for access. Potential users might also like to know that some volumes are very dusty indeed!

Editor’s note: If you would like to find out more about any of the archives described above, you can search the Manuscripts Section’s catalogues online at Just click on “Former catalogue” and enter the institution’s name in an Author search.

torn to shreds

Assistant archivist, Matthew Payne, reports on what happens to records not deemed worthy of permanent preservation.

The Manuscripts Section frequently receives deposits of new material, as often as not now from businesses. Organisations will contact us with the offer of records for a variety of reasons: they are relocating, they need the space, they think the records might be of interest, the business is now defunct etc. Usually staff from the Section go to view the material before deciding whether it is suitable, or selecting which records should be transferred. Sometimes (it seems increasingly so) time is minimal. We often have to survey records amidst the clearing of offices, or with the knowledge that anything we do not select in the next hour or so will be heading straight for destruction. In some instances, we have to arrange to take material unseen, with the provision that we have full power to destroy. Indeed we try to obtain power to destroy over all collections that we accept. This allows us to dispose of unwanted material, duplicates, ephemera, and worthless series or strays.

This destruction, when it happens, takes place at an industrial shredding plant in Leyton. Depositors are reassured that any potentially sensitive material, or, indeed, any unwanted archives, will not fall into the wrong hands. We take sacks full of papers and books in the Library van to Leyton, and there witness their destruction. Fortunately, the back-breaking work of hurling the sacks onto the conveyor belts which head into the shredder is carried out by workmen at the plant.

We do not have to destroy very much material. In most instances, surveying the records beforehand saves needlessly transferring papers to us in the first place, and we are selective about what we accept. But inevitably, when decisions have to be made quickly, or when a collection is particularly large, or when it has not been possible to inspect the collection before accepting it, there will be material that has to be disposed of. It is reassuring for depositors to know that this is done in a secure and professional fashion.

The records of the COMPANY OF Watermen and Lightermen - Exploring beyond the apprenticeship records

Archives assistant Claire Titley digs deeper into the membership records of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen.

About the records of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen

The records of the Watermen and Lightermen’s Company are some of the most consistently popular records held in the Manuscripts Section. Watermen and lightermen carried people and goods up and down the River Thames, and the Company had control over their activities on the River. The records are well-organised, very detailed and can provide more information about the company’s members than those of many other City of London livery companies. Consequently they are very popular with those searching their family history.

Rob Cottrell’s informative indexes to the apprenticeship records of the company have made access simple. The indexes are available at Guildhall Library, many other libraries, and at the Society of Genealogists, and are available to purchase in CD ROM format from family history societies. As a result readers tend to be well informed about the collection, and have frequently obtained the key biographical and genealogical facts about their ancestors before they visit.

Widening the search

I have been looking at some of the less frequently used parts of the Watermen and Lightermen’s Company’s records, to see how we can extend readers’ searches when somebody asks “What else can I look at?”.

The main focus of my attention has been the Company’s complaints books (Ms 6301), where disputes between individuals were aired and punishments meted out. When asked whether they were worth a look by an enthusiastic reader, I had to confess I wasn’t sure. These records are rarely used because they are unindexed, so I thought I should investigate further.

Undertaking an experiment

I decided to examine a sample of the records based on 20 apprentices bound on the same day, their names taken from the apprentice binding books. I selected a list of 20 apprentices bound in July 1828 (in Ms 6289/16) and searched the complaints book (Ms 6301/5) for these from August 1835 to August 1860. Of the sample, six individuals featured in the complaints book. Half of the six appeared only once, but the other half appeared on multiple occasions, the highest number being 9 separate complaints relating to one individual.

Some of the complaints recorded included:

The records show a variety of long-running complaints between particular individuals, even families, and give you an idea of the status of certain members (i.e. some members appear to take on the mantle of registering complaints, and some seem to bear the brunt of the complaints of many others).

Of course, someone’s appearance didn’t necessary mean they were being complained about; they could be the complainant airing a grievance.

The books are also a useful resource for examining the relationship between masters and apprentices as the latter seem to have used the complaints procedure to voice complaints about masters.

It is not always clear what action was taken once a complaint had been lodged, but fines do appear to have been levied.

Taking another sample

Given the high number of complainants in the sample, I tried another sample of the same size, but for an earlier period (in case my results were the result of good fortune). Starting in 1808, I traced another 20 individuals through the complaints books up to 1823 (GL Ms 6301/3-4). This was proportionately a smaller sample because the number of entries in the complaints books was much greater in this earlier period.

From this sample of 20, nine individuals appeared in the complaints books. There was a wider spread than in the first sample, but with more of the men only appearing once or twice, and the maximum number of appearances being four.

The types of complaint were similar, but more varied, and also included:

One entry of interest, not from my sample, but noted in passing, records an incident in June 1817 where passengers were drowned after falling from a boat belonging to a member of the company.


The two samples show that a significant proportion of members of the Watermen and Lightermen’s Company appear in the complaints books, both as complainants and as defendants. The differences between the two samples hint that there may be a higher proportion of occurrences in the earlier registers.

For readers who are keen to find out more about an individual’s working life, or for those who want to explore further, searches of the complaints books can yield a potentially high success rate as well as plenty of colour. However, you need to be persistent as there are a large number of entries written at speed in a variable hand, and no indexes. A search of at least two years after the date of freedom is recommended.

And then…

The account books of payments to pensioners date from 1794 to 1910 (Ms 6400/1-6). These also are rarely consulted, but I would encourage readers to check these too. They can be checked quickly and easily as they are arranged roughly alphabetically. In the period before Civil Registration began in 1837, they can provide useful clues as to the date of death and place of burial of a Company member.

One last thing!

Those interested in the Watermen and Lightermen’s Company may have read The Secret River by Kate Grenville, a novel about a waterman who is convicted of theft and deported to Australia with his young family. Kate Grenville did some of her research here at Guildhall Library, and describes the experience in a new book which has been published to accompany the novel, called Searching for the Secret River. Part memoir, part genealogical guide, it follows the path of her research and her experiences along the way, including chapters based at The National Archives, Watermen and Lightermen’s Hall and Guildhall.


In the Winter 2006/7 issue of the newsletter, Amy Erickson, Senior Research Associate of the Group for Population History at the University of Cambridge, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, challenged our assumption that Christ’s Hospital girls invariably went into domestic service in the 19th and early 20th centuries. We asked whether any readers had ancestors who were Christ’s Hospital girls in this period whose occupation after school they knew, and the contributions of several readers were published in the last issue. One of these, David Miller, has a final thought:

As I said in my earlier contribution, I was generally aware of the outlines of the history of the Christ's Hospital Girls School at Hertford, and I was also aware that in the 20th century many Hertford Old Blues had become very distinguished academics, doctors, teachers, broadcasters, etc. Thus, in my attempt to leap to the defence of Christ’s Hospital girls, I had extrapolated backwards and rather assumed that it had always been so.

However, quite by chance, I am reading Christ's Hospital Hertford; A History of the School against the Background of London and Horsham by Frances M Page, MA PhD (London, G Bell, 1953), which gives a very different picture of Hertford in the 19th century. From this it would appear that the girls were in a minority at Hertford, where the vast majority were boys of what we would nowadays describe, perhaps loosely, as "prep school age" who were waiting vacancies in the "boys only" school in Newgate Street.  Indeed, for many years there appear to have been as few as 18 girls. They also seem to have spent a large amount of their time in making various items of clothing for the boys, while their academic education was very limited on the grounds that there was little scope for a well-educated girl in those times, anyway.

So it would appear that the premise that, for most of the 19th century, the girls may have "gone into service", may well be correct and would certainly warrant further research.

I would only add that today the girls get absolute equality of opportunity with the boys and, indeed, that the school has finally achieved a true 50:50 ratio in numbers at the school - so whatever the omissions of the past may have been, they have now been put right.

ARCHIVES ONLINE: lloyd’s of london Captains Registers indexes now available!

We are pleased to announce that the indexes of the Captains Registers of Lloyd’s of London are now available to consult online on the Manuscripts Section website at

The Captains Registers record the careers of masters and mates who served on British-owned foreign-going merchant vessels and had the certificate of competency, and they date from 1869-1948, backdating to 1851 for those who were still active in 1869. The indexing project concentrates on the first series (Ms 18567) and takes readers up to 1911.

The letters currently available online are C-E, I, L and N-Q, U-V and Y-Z. A, B and K will be available shortly (hopefully by the time the next newsletter appears, although printed versions are already available to consult in the Reading Room of the Manuscripts Section), and the remaining letters will appear when they are done.

Regular visitors and readers of our newsletter will know that the Captains Registers are some of the most heavily used records in our collection. Our indexing project was started around fifteen years ago in an attempt to reduce wear and tear on the records, and to make searches easier for readers. More details can be found in Newsletter No. 6 at

The project has been traditionally maintained by the Archives Assistants, but over the last few years we have seen the pace of progress pick up thanks to the regular work of enthusiastic volunteers.

While there is still plenty of work to be done (and the slightly daunting tasks of the giant S and T indexes), we hope that readers will benefit from having the finished letters available online to help them with their searches.

The index includes the biographical information from the registers for each master, but not the voyage details. However, a list of the volumes in which the master appears is given, so that any additional information can be followed up more easily in the reading room.

We can transcribe the biographical details from the registers of up to three masters for readers as part of our free enquiry service, but unfortunately shortage of staff time prevents us from extracting the details of the voyages, as these can be lengthy.

The original volumes can be ordered up from our store in approximately ten minutes by readers, without appointment. While we do not photocopy these volumes, readers can photograph them on completion of a simple copyright form.

Also coming soon to the website will be the indexes to the marriage licences of St Katharine by the Tower, currently only available to consult in the Reading Room. These indexes are the result of another volunteer project, which was completed last year. You can find out more in Newsletter No.3 at Watch this space for further details!


Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section is holding a series of free events as part of the Archive Awareness Campaign 2007.

The events will take place in the Whittington Room, Guildhall Library and all begin at 2pm. Numbers are limited. Please book in advance by telephoning 020 7332 1863 or email However, you are welcome to come on the day and see if there are any last minute places available.

18 September 2007: "The records of St Paul's Cathedral", Stephen Freeth, Guildhall Library, followed by a visit to St Paul's Cathedral Library, Jo Wisdom, St Paul’s Cathedral. (2hrs). 15 people maximum.

An introduction to the records of St Paul’s Cathedral followed by an opportunity to visit the Cathedral Library. Note: access to St Paul's Cathedral Library is via the Geometric Stairs (94 steps) and is not suitable for sufferers from vertigo.

17 October 2007: “John Newton: ‘a monument of grace’", Marylynn Rouse, The John Newton Project. (1hr). 20 people maximum.

John Newton's story is extraordinary - a sailor flogged for desertion, a slave, a slave trader and a slave abolitionist. Author of the famous hymn Amazing Grace, he was mentor to William Wilberforce for twenty years.  

25 October 2007: Behind the scenes tour of the Manuscripts Section store and Conservation workshop. (1hr 15 minutes). 16 people maximum.

Come and see how the manuscripts are stored. Meet the conservators and see what projects they are working on. Discover how to care for your treasures.

7 November 2007: “A Place in the Sun: fire insurance records for local and family history”, Brenda Griffith-Williams, A Place in the Sun (the Lottery funded project to index the policy registers of the Sun Insurance office). (1hr). 20 people maximum.

An introduction to fire insurance records as a source of information on London householders and traders in the early 19th century (i.e. pre 1837), of interest to family, social and business historians.

27 November 2007: “City of London and Livery Company Freedom Records”, Elizabeth Scudder, London Metropolitan Archives, and Philippa Smith, Guildhall Library. (1hr 30 mins). 20 people maximum.

An introduction to the use and interpretation of the Freedom Records of the City of London and of City of London Livery Companies. The session will provide an opportunity to see examples of relevant documents and to discuss their content. You will find this seminar useful if: you are unfamiliar with the use of City of London and Livery Company Freedom Records and would like to know more; you are interested in family or social history; and you have an interest in the history of the City of London.

6 December 2007: Behind the scenes tour of the Manuscripts Section store and Conservation workshop. (1hr 15 minutes). 16 people maximum.

Lunchtime Lectures

Make the most of your Friday lunchtimes by coming to the Basinghall Suite in Guildhall Art Gallery for a fascinating free talk on the City of London’s history.

Each lecture lasts 30 minutes and begins promptly at 12.30pm. There is no admittance after this time. Places must be booked in advance. To book your place for any of the lectures please email or telephone 020 7332 3859.

7 September 2007: “The Repository of the Nation's Wealth: the buildings of the Bank of England”, John Keyworth, Curator, Bank of England Museum.

Join us for a lecture on the architectural history of the Bank of England and learn about the architects and the events that shaped it.

21 September 2007: “The Great Fire of London”, Meriel Jeater, Curator of London’s Burning exhibition, Museum of London.

In 1666 a terrible fire devastated four-fifths of the City of London, destroyed over 13,000 houses and made 100,000 people homeless. What was the reaction among Londoners? How did they cope? When was City life restored?

5 October 2007: A Slave History: Clerkenwell to the City”, Maureen Roberts, London Metropolitan Archives.


Take a virtual tour from Clerkenwell to the City and discover places and people associated with the slave trade. The talk focuses on the many campaigners who helped bring about the 1807 Abolition Act and includes references to Lady Huntington, Robert Wedderburn, Charles and John Wesley and Jonathan Strong, as well as the thousands of anonymous Londoners who opposed the slave trade.


Each session starts at 1.00 p.m. and will last for one hour. Sessions are free, but you must book in advance by phoning 020 7332 1868/1870 or by emailing

General tours

If you are interested in finding out more about Guildhall Library as a whole, tours will take place on:

Wednesday 3 October 2007

Wednesday 5 December 2007

You will hear about the history of the Library, see the collections, and visit behind the scenes.

Electronic resources in Guildhall Library

Would you like to know more about our computer-based resources and receive help in using them? Practical sessions will take place on:

Wednesday 5 September 2007

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Sources for family historians

You will be shown resources for tracing family history in the Printed Books Section, and then view a selection of original documents in the Manuscripts Section.

Tuesday 11 September 2007

Tuesday 13 November  2007


For details of forthcoming events at London Metropolitan Archives go to


Archives for London organises a number of events, including a series of free seminars held, usually, on the first Thursday of the month at 5.30 pm at London Metropolitan Archives. For details of forthcoming events go to


The changing face of Cheapside, at Guildhall Library Print Room, 29 May to 13 October 2007. Admission free

Cheapside is currently undergoing a radical makeover. Over half of its buildings have been demolished in the past year and will shortly be replaced with up-to-date offices and shops.


This is not the first time that Cheapside has witnessed such a sudden and dramatic transformation. Catastrophes in the 17th and 20th centuries wiped out almost every building in the street. Wealth has also been a catalyst for change: the unassuming buildings of the 18th century were nearly all swept away by more imposing edifices in the mid-Victorian economic boom. Our present prosperity, together with the City’s pressing need to adapt to new working practices and compete with rivals, has resulted in the current phase of renewal.


Some parts of Cheapside have miraculously survived all this change, but for the most part all that survives of old Cheapside are the images and artefacts preserved in libraries and museums. Guildhall Library has a collection of hundreds of prints, maps, drawings and photographs of Cheapside dating back four centuries, and still growing. This exhibition gives a flavour of what is being preserved for posterity.


For more information go to


A Visible Difference: Skin, race and identity 1720-1820, at the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, 3 July – 21 December 2007. Open to all, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, free entry.


The forgotten histories of black Africans living with skin pigmentation conditions in the 18th and early 19th centuries are explored through this exhibition. During the Enlightenment period when new theories about the nature of human races emerged, these skin conditions challenged established definitions and conventions. As social outcasts and medical phenomena, black people with spotted, patched or white bodies became a sought after commodity. The exhibition seeks to find out how much of this history has changed, and whether people are as curious now about visible differences, as they were then.


The exhibition includes an item loaned by Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section: the Piepowder Court minute book, 1790-1854 (Ms 95), which records the attractions, stalls and amusements at Bartholomew Fair, including references to the ‘Negro’, the ‘White Negro’, the ‘Spotted Indian’ and the ‘White Indian’. 

For further information go to

SION COLLEGE, at Lambeth Palace Library, 3 September-1 November 2007. Free admission.

In the last issue we reported on a display of items relating to Sion College at Guildhall Library. The display formed part of Sion College Collections: Access for All, a collaboration between the Manuscripts Section, Lambeth Palace Library and King’s College London to enhance access and promote the use of the Sion College collections on the three sites. A display of Sion College material can now be seen at Lambeth Palace Library, and there is also an online exhibition - visit for more details.

How We Are: Photographing Britain, at Tate Britain, 22 May – 2 September 2007.

You still have time to see this major exhibition of photography which includes an item from the Manuscripts Section, one of several items loaned by Guildhall Library: the case book of London boys from the Ragged School Union, admitted to a collecting centre for assisted emigrants to Canada, containing photographs of the boys, ca. 1860 (GL Ms 5754). It is also now possible to access this, together with another album from Guildhall Library, as a digital “turning the pages” book at


For more details about the exhibition and admission charges go to

Slavery and Justice: the legacies of Lord Mansfield and Dido Belle at Kenwood House, 24 May to 2 September 2007.

There is also time to catch this exhibition at Kenwood House. It includes the marriage allegation and bond relating to the marriage of Dido Elizabeth Belle and John Davinier (GL Ms 10091/169 & Ms 10091E/106), loaned by Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, as reported in the last issue of the newsletter. More details can be found at


The Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library is contributing a further series of articles about its records to Ancestors magazine. Just published in issue 61, September 2007 is “Welcome to the World of Work”. Although compiled for very different reasons, business records can help you find out about your ancestor's working life. In this article, Charlie Turpie suggests how family historians can profit from a variety of sources.

Already published are:

“Paying for St. Paul’s”, by Matthew Payne, about the St Paul’s briefs, the late 17th century returns from parishes throughout England and Wales recording collections towards the rebuilding of St Paul’s Cathedral after the Great Fire, in issue 49, September 2006;

“Mysteries Unravelled”, by Philippa Smith, about City of London livery company records, in issue 51, November 2006; and

“A Peculiar Marriage”, by Dr Stacey Gee, about St Katharine by the Tower Marriage Licence Records, in issue 54, February 2007.

An article on the records of bravery awards made by Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund and the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire, by Matthew Payne, will be published in the New Year.

Information about Ancestors  magazine can be found at


The Institute of Historical Research has just published the first issue of its new magazine Timeline. It will appear twice a year and is available free by contacting Emily Morrell, Publications Manager, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

( It is also available as a PDF on the IHR website at

Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE 2008

It has just been announced that Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE 2008 will take place at the Grand Hall, Olympia, London on Friday 2 to Sunday 4 May 2008.  This hall, on the same site as this year’s show, gives almost double the ground floor space allowing the show to develop new areas such as archaeology, antiques and restoration, and to expand the military and house history areas, as well as growing the core of genealogy. There are favourable rates on offer to exhibitors who book now. Go to for contact details.


Do you have any comments about this newsletter, about the Manuscripts Section itself or the records it holds? Do you have anything to contribute about your research, or experiences of working with archives that you would like to share? If so, please contact the editor, Philippa Smith, at

Last updated August 2007

Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section