Local studies and archives

Our local studies and archives online catalogue has more than 22,000 records, including more than 500 digitised images.

To search, select ‘Kensington and Chelsea Local Studies and Archives’ from the drop-down menu in the Repository field and enter key words into the ‘Any Text’ search field.

Material can be accessed by visiting our department. Please take a note of the reference numbers and email us at [email protected] to book an appointment to visit. Providing references allows us to retrieve items in advance.

Search the local studies and archives catalogue

About local studies and archives

Our local studies collection contains all the borough's material on the history of both Kensington and Chelsea including:

  • books
  • newspapers
  • illustrations including prints, photographs, paintings and drawings
  • maps including ordnance survey, parish and general maps of London
  • census returns
  • electoral registers
  • manuscripts
  • ephemera and other archive material

Read more about:

Visit the archives

The archive collection is housed at Kensington Central Library.

If you want to see any archive records you need make an appointment first. Please note that there are a limited number of spaces available, and browsing and study will not be possible during days that the service is closed.

Please do not make travels plans until you have had your appointment confirmed.

Opening hours

Day Times
Monday Closed
Tuesday 1pm to 5pm – Appointments only
Wednesday 10am to 5pm – Appointments only
Thursday Closed
Friday Closed
Saturday Closed

Local newspapers

We hold local newspapers on microfilm for:

  • Kensington 1855 to 2004
  • Chelsea 1865 to 1999

If you want to view microfilm copies:

  • call us to make a booking 020 7361 3038
  • printed copies cost 25p each

We also hold some back copies of more recent local newspapers such as:

  • The Kensington and Chelsea Chronicle
  • The Kensington and Chelsea Gazette


Read our blog

The Library Time Machine is our blog. It explores past lives and history of Kensington and Chelsea.

Read The Library Time Machine.

Kensingtonand Chelsea's Great War

Our website showcases Kensington and Chelsea’s Great War memories and local historical material including:

  • recruitment posters
  • photos
  • old documents
  • family memories of local people

Read more about Kensington and Chelsea's Great War.

Digital images and reproduction fees

Digital imaging and printing

Our local studies and archives online catalogue has more than 22,000 records, including more than 500 digitised images. 

Digital Imaging Price List 2024 - 2025
Self-service photography
Non-commercial research: £6.00 per day
Commercial research £15.00 per day
Microfilm and screenshots
Non-commercial research: £6.00 per day
Commercial research £15.00 per day
Digital files
Low resolution (web/online use, typical size 500k) £10.50
Medium resolution (standard reproduction, typical size 10mb) £16.00
High resolution (highest quality reproduction, typical size 50mb) £21.00

Digital files can be emailed or file transferred.

  • Prices include VAT.  
  • The prices above do not include any additional research and work carried out by the Local Studies and Archives staff. If specific assistance is needed, please discuss with a member of the staff. Research and additional time fees may be charged.
  • All images supplied are for personal use only.  If you intend to use the images in a publication or other products, a reproduction fee may be charged. Please ask a member of staff about this.

To order a digital image and/or request reproduction, please fill in the form below and email it to [email protected].

Should you wish to reproduce an image in a publication or other products, we offer competitive reproduction charges:

Research Service and fees

Research service

We offer a paid research service relating to the following sources:

  • Census
  • Kensington and Chelsea Electoral Register (Gaps 1915 to 1917 and 1940 to 1944)   
  • Local Newspapers 
  • Various Street and Trade Directories including part of Early London, Kensington Directories, Post Office London directories
  • St Mary Abbots- Transcript of Parish Registers: Christenings, Marriage, Burials
  • Rate books, Valuation books
  • Rateable Values

You can find the full charges and fees clicking the file below

Last updated: 10 April 2024