Waltham Forest Archives and local studies library


The Waltham Forest Archives and local studies library are based at Vestry House Museum.

We can help you if you are interested in researching the following:

  • Your family history
  • The history of your house or street
  • The development of the local area and local communities
  • Subjects for a school project or for academic research

We hold on one site a wide range of manuscript, printed and pictorial resources for research into all aspects of the history of the Waltham Forest.

Searchroom visits are by prior appointment only on Thursday to Saturday 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm.

For contact details and access information please see tabs below.


Explore Your Archive
Waltham Forest Archives at Vestry House Museum
Saturday 24 November, 10.30am to 5pm. Free entry.

Join us to discover more about using archives for your local history research at this free event to mark the national Explore Your Archive campaign.

  • Explore a display of archives and printed sources in the Searchroom, 1pm to 5pm​
  • Browse local history society stalls and meet our local experts, 10.30am to 5pm
  • Drop in for local history talks and book signing sessions with local authors:
    • 10.45 Claire Weiss: 'Unravelling the Yarn, Zoë Hart Dyke: the Leyton Silk Road'
    • 12.15 James Diamond: 'The Home Front in Chingford, 1939-1945'
    • 3.15 Lissa Chapman: 'Anne Boleyn in London'

Free event. No pre-booking needed. All welcome.

Access information: the Searchroom is on the first floor and accessible by stairs only. Some facsimile items will be displayed on the ground floor. Talks, book signing sessions and local history society stalls will be on the ground floor and fully accessible.

Archives Click to get info

We hold wide-ranging primary sources for the history of our local community.

These include records of:

  • Anglican parishes since 1575 (including parish registers)
  • Chingford Mount Cemetery
  • Local authorities
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Properties and historic buildings
  • Businesses
  • Clubs and societies

Extensive name indexes and local census returns are available in our searchroom.

Local studies library Click to get info

The range of printed sources available in our searchroom includes:

  • Local newspapers
  • Trade directories
  • Electoral registers
  • Council minutes and reports
  • Ordnance Survey and other maps
  • Secondary sources including biographies, histories of organisations, pamphlets and ephemera

Facilities Click to get info

You can view records and archives free of charge, although you will need to make an appointment in advance.

Copying facilities are available, subject to copyright requirements and the physical condition of the original material. Please ask a member of staff for more information and charges.

We regret that we cannot do research for you, but we are here to help you choose relevant sources and make full use of our facilities.

Free Wi-Fi is available in our Searchroom.

Free access to these online resources is available in our Searchroom:

  • Ancestry
  • Find My Past
  • Essex Ancestors (via Seax from Essex Record Office)

Other records Click to get info

Access and appointments Click to get info

Please contact us to make an appointment. 

The searchroom is situated on the first floor, which is accessible by stairs only. If you would prefer to work in a ground floor room, please let us know when you book your appointment.

Contact Click to get info

Searchroom access is by appointment only.

Waltham Forest Archives and Local Studies Library
Vestry House Museum

Vestry Road 
E17 9NH 

Telephone: 020 8496 4381
Email: vhm.enquiries@walthamforest.gov.uk

Opening times:Thursday to Saturday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm.