Visiting the Local History Library and Archive

The Local History Library and Archive is based at the back of John Harvard Library, but please note that our opening hours are different.

You do not need to be a member of Southwark Libraries to use our collections, but please sign in and add your details to our visitor register when you arrive.  

John Harvard Library
John Harvard and the Local History Library


211 Borough High Street
SE1 1JA 

How to get there

Tube: Borough or London Bridge
Train: London Bridge
Bus: 21, 35, 40, 133, 343

View library on map

Opening times

  • Monday 10am to 7pm
  • Tuesday 10am to 5pm
  • Wednesday Closed
  • Thursday 10am to 7pm
  • Friday 10am to 5pm
  • Saturday 10am to 3pm
  • Sunday Closed


Southwark's history is told through surviving documents, audio and film clips, and photographs. Many of these resources are available to view in the library, along with information on changes in Southwark today. Some items may be held in our archives and are not available to view immediately.

  • local history books and pamphlets
  • information on researching your family history
  • free access to Ancestry (library edition)
  • slides and microfiche
  • maps and plans
  • newspaper archives (hard copies and online)
  • film and audio archives
  • photo archives
  • 12 research spaces available
  • scanning, photocopying and printing facilities
  • free internet access - 3 PCs available for public use
  • free Wi-Fi
  • public toilets and baby change facilities


  • wheelchair access to the library
  • a disabled access toilet
  • computers offer Dolphin Supernova software (allows magnification and audio assistance for visually impaired)

Page last updated: 03 January 2020