Archives and local history

Hackney Archives is open to anyone who wants to find out more about Hackney’s past. If you are interested in the history of a building or street in the borough, a Hackney based business or organisation, or would like to know more about family members who lived in Hackney then we’ll do our best to help you.


What archives are used for

You can use the archives to:

  • explore your family and community history
  • research campaigns about things that are important to you
  • learn about your local area
  • develop research skills
  • discover the history of your house

Our collections – 600 years of history

We are always adding to our collections. Our oldest record dates from 1356 and we are actively collecting now. All records are connected to the London borough of Hackney, which, before 1965, was three separate metropolitan boroughs – Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington.

We’re happy to discuss any donations you think could have a home in Hackney Archives.

Before you visit

Make sure you get the most from your visit by reading our tips to help plan your day. Some of the material we hold, including certain maps, directories, books, periodicals and historic copies of newspapers are available on an open access drop-in basis.

You’ll need to order some records in advance of your visit, though. To avoid disappointment, it’s always best to check in advance to make sure what you are looking for is available.

Advice and enquiries

We offer advice on how best to access our collections. Please contact the team with your questions including as much information as possible. This enquiry service is free of charge, but does not include extensive research.

Search the catalogue

Search our archives catalogue, local history library and image collections:

Search now

If you’re having problems using our catalogue after reading our guide to searching it, please get in touch and one of our team will be happy to help.

  • London Screen Archives includes a selection of films from Hackney Archives (search ‘Hackney’). Some films are available to view online, but a larger selection can be accessed onsite in the Archives search room
  • Ancestry (library edition) is available to access free of charge on site at Hackney Archives and Libraries

Hackney History (Friends of Hackney Archives)

The Friends of Hackney Archives is a membership charity that supports the work of Hackney Archives. They provide practical support when needed, express the views of users of the archives to the Council and administer a donations fund to purchase and conserve collections.

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We organise exhibitions, talks and events throughout the year to help you discover more about the borough’s heritage. Add your email address if you’d like to receive updates about what’s on at Hackney Archives and Hackney Museum.

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Page updated on: 31 January 2024

Hackney Archives


Dalston CLR James Library
Dalston Square
E8 3BQ


Opening times

  • Wed to Fri 10am to 6pm and the first Sat of every month 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm