London's past online

Please note: London's Past Online (LPOL) has now been incorporated into the subscription-only Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH).

Produced by the Centre for Metropolitan History in association with the Royal Historical Society Bibliography, London's Past Online is a bibliography of published material relating to the history of the Greater London area. In it, you will be able to find everything relating to the history of the capital, from counting house to music hall; from the Fire to the Blitz; from Whittington to Livingstone. It should represent a starting point for all enquiries concerning London's development over the centuries or any conceivable aspect of London life, whether from the academic historian, the amateur or the general enquirer.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council Resource Enhancement Scheme (award no. RE/AN8717/APN13604) between 2002 and 2004, the project was managed by David Tomkins (Research Editor) and Eileen Sanderson (Assistant Research Editor), working under the general editorship of Heather Creaton, the former Deputy Director of the CMH. Core data for the project was taken from Heather Creaton's Bibliography of Printed Works on London History to 1939 (London: Library Association Publishing Ltd, 1994) and its unpublished supplement, and the bibliography from her Sources for the History of London, 1939-45 (London, British Records Association, 1998). Working in close co-operation with the Royal Historical Society (RHS) Bibliography, the editors exported the bibliographic records compiled for these publications to a separate dataset within the RHS Bibliography database. These records were edited as necessary and the subject and person details  mapped to correspond with the RHS Bibliography’s controlled vocabulary indexes.  The data, comprising approximately 31,000 records, went online towards the end of 2002. 

In 2005-6 generous additional funding from the Mercers' Company and the Goldsmiths' Company enabled the incorporation of archaeological references from the Bibliography of the Archaeology of Greater London (BAGL). By the end of 2009, over 42,000 records were searchable through the London’s Past Online database, and in combination with relevant RHS Bibliography records that have been tagged as ‘London’ records. 

To provide a secure long-term future, the RHS and IHR entered into a partnership with Brepols Publishers at the end of 2009 to continue London's Past Online and the RHS Bibliography as a subscription service. From 1 January 2010, London's Past Online formally became part of the new Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH). The combined Bibliography also acquired a new interface incorporating several new features, including auto-complete lists and enhanced export facilities, as well as offering considerably faster searching. In other respects, BBIH continues the practices and features developed in the compilation of the Annual Bibliographies and of the online RHS Bibliography. Although the London's Past Online project is no longer itself creating new records, new material relating to London continues to be added to BBIH, including records for newly completed theses on London history. Entries are published as rapidly as possible, but are also reviewed by a team of expert academic section editors to ensure that the Bibliography remains attuned to scholars' needs. Linkage to online text and to library catalogues is provided wherever possible, and can be customised according to the user's location. BBIH also continues to use the classification scheme devised for the RHS Bibliography.  For further information on these changes and the subscriptions available, please see FAQs.


CMH Annual Reports 2000-2, 2002-3, 2003-4, 2005-6, 2006-7

Project details

General Editor: Heather Creaton, B.A., M.Phil., A.L.A.
Research Editor: David Tomkins, B.A., M.A.
Assistant Research Editor: Eileen Sanderson, B.A., M.A.
Funded by: Arts and Humanities Research Board (Ref: RE/AN8717/APN13604) (1 May 2002-30 September 2004); Mercers' Company and Goldsmiths' Company (2005-6)
AHRB Amount Awarded: £216,919