Waltham Forest Archives and local studies library

Information about your family history, the history of your house or street.

Last updated: 22 September 2023

Next review: 22 September 2024

Waltham Forest Archives and Local Studies Library service is housed at Vestry House Museum. We offer a wide range of resources for research into the history of the Waltham Forest area and its communities.

We can help if you want to research:

  • your family history
  • the history of your house or street
  • development of the local area
  • subjects for a school project or for academic research

Searchroom visits are by prior appointment only at these times:

Alternate Wednesdays 10:30am to 12:30pm and 2pm to 4:30pm

Thursday to Saturday 10:30am to 12:30pm and 2pm to 4:30pm

For information on appointment availability please email wfa.enquiries@walthamforest.gov.uk

For other information see Facilities, Access, and Contact headings below.

For enquiries regarding photographs from Vestry House Museum collections please email vhm.enquiries@walthamforest.gov.uk


Primary sources for the history of our local community 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

Local studies library

Printed sources available in our Searchroom include:

  • Local newspapers
  • Trade directories
  • Electoral registers which are more than 10 years old
  • Council minutes and reports up to 2007
  • Ordnance Survey and other maps
  • Secondary sources including biographies, histories of organisations, pamphlets and ephemera


There is no charge to view sources in the Searchroom. You just need to book your visit 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.

Church registers

Access and appointments

Please contact us to book your appointment, giving some information about your research topic.

If you wish to order original archive sources for your visit then please book an appointment for a date from 12 October onwards.

The Searchroom is up one short flight of stairs and there is no lift. When booking your appointment please let us know if you require a fully accessible ground floor room.

The Searchroom will be relocating to Walthamstow Library in early 2024. From mid-November 2023 the Searchroom will be closed temporarily in advance of our move. Please email us if you have any queries.

Useful links: Waltham Forest pages

Local history societies

Useful websites


Waltham Forest Archives and Local Studies Library

Vestry House Museum
Vestry Road 
E17 9NH