Council archives, family history and building history

Council archive

Our council archive includes rate books, electoral registers and council minutes.

Rate books

Rate books are useful to establish how long someone lived at a particular address. The books give the names of rate payers listed by street, and detail the amount of rates they paid.

We hold rate books for:

  • Chelsea 1779-1965
  • Kensington 1779-1965
  • combined until 1978

We also hold valuation books from 1880-1936.

Council minutes

We hold a full set of council minutes for the vestries of the separate boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea up to 1965, and the combined boroughs thereafter.

Electoral registers

We hold electoral registers for:

  • Chelsea 1887-2000, including absent voters lists of 1918
  • Kensington 1890-1982, including absent voters lists of 1918
  • combined 1982 - the year before the current year

For the current and edited version, contact Kensington Central Library. You will need to know the street of the person you are searching for.


Family history

Parish registers

London Metropolitan Archives hold most of the borough's parish registers.

They have been digitised and uploaded to Ancestry, which is available at many local libraries including our Local Studies department.

London Metropolitan Archives

Family history online resources

We hold the parish indexes for St Mary Abbotts and the parish records for St Luke’s (Chelsea) 1559-1850.

St Mary Abbots hold their own parish records.

Cemeteries

We don't hold burial records at our Local Studies and Archives department because most municipal cemeteries keep their own records.

Cemeteries & Crematoria in or near Kensington & Chelsea

Non-denomenational

Brompton Cemetery

Address:

Fulham Road, London SW10 9UG

Location of Burial Registers:

Date register begin

1840

Can you search yourself?

No


Gunnersbury Cemetery

Address:

Gunnersbury Avenue, London W3 8LE

Location of Burial Registers:

Date register begin

1829

Can you search yourself?

No


Kensal Green (All Souls) Cemetery

Address:

Harrow Road, London W10 4RA

Location of Burial Registers:

  • At the Cemetery, Tel: 020 8969 0152 
  • Email: Enquiries@kensalgreencemetery.com
  • At London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Rd, EC1R 0HB, Tel: 020 7332 3820
  • (DL/T/41/1-40) for 1833-72

Date register begin

1833

Can you search yourself?

No


Kensington Hanwell Cemetery

Address:

Broadway W7

Location of Burial Registers:

Date register begin:

1855

Can you search yourself?:

No


Putney Vale Cemetery

Address:

Stag Lane, Putney, SW15 3DZ

Location of Burial Registers:

Date register begin:

1891

Can you search yourself?

No


Brookwood Cemetery

Please see: https://brookwoodcemetery.com/grave-search-2/

Jewish

Western Cemetery

Address:

Queens Elm Parade, Fulham Road, London SW3

Location of Burial Registers:

  • At the Burial Society.
  • Registers before 1868 destroyed by enemy action.

Date register begin

1815-84

Can you search yourself?

Yes by appointment

Catholic

St Mary’s Cemetery

Address:

Kensal Green, Harrow Road, London NW10 5NU

Location of Burial Registers

Date register begin

1858

Can you search yourself?

No

Restricted

Royal Hospital Chelsea Burial Ground

Address:

Royal Hospital Road, London SW3

Location of Burial Registers:

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Rd, London EC1R 0HB, Tel: 020 7332 3820

Date register begin:

1692-1856

Can you search yourself?:

Yes

 


Building history

The Survey of London for Kensington and Chelsea is available in our department on open access.

Drainage plans

We hold drainage plans for any address in the borough if there's been an application to run pipes into the public sewer.

The plans range:

  • from simple sketches of the ground/basement floor to drawings of the whole building
  • between the 1850s to the 1980s

Contact us to find out if we hold drainage plans for a property. If we do you can come and view the documents in person.

Street directories

We hold directories for:

  • Kensington 1888-1953
  • Chelsea 1890-1939 
  • London Post Office directories 1902-1991.

We also hold:

  • London directories 1778-1863
  • some Royal Blue Books and Boyle’s Court guides 1873-1989

Rateable values

We hold material relevant to historic rateable values.

Guidance on Kensington and Chelsea rateable value enquiries


The Local Studies department holds microfiche of the rateable value lists made in Kensington and Chelsea in 1963 and 1973, and sheets detailing any amendments made to them. These lists show both commercial and residential properties in the borough, and provide a description, a rateable value, and a gross value for each property. The 1963 valuation list covers 1st April 1963 to 31st March 1973. The 1973 valuation list covers 1st April 1973 to the end of domestic rating.

RATEABLE VALUATION SEARCH

We offer a search service at a charge of £47.50 (incl. VAT) per address, to provide information up to and including a full rateable value history 1963 to the end of domestic rating (more in complex cases). Please send us a letter or email specifying the address of the property you need us to search and the date(s)/period(s) to be covered, as well as your full name and address for our invoicing records.

We require payment in advance of the search, cheques made payable to ‘The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’ and posted to the address below, marking the envelope ‘Rateable Value’ (If sending a cheque separately from an initial search request, please make clear the search it relates to.) Alternatively, RBKC BACS payment details can be provided upon request.

Once we have received payment, we will complete the search and e-mail you a transcript of the results (occasionally attaching images of records as well, or instead, if this seems appropriate), and an invoice endorsed as paid.

We try to turn around enquiries in one to three working days from the receipt of a payment, however during busy periods it may take longer.

IN PERSON

You may visit the department and consult the microfiche yourself. This is by appointment only. The searching process can be complicated, and an advance appointment is necessary to ensure that a member of staff will be available to offer (limited) assistance if needed, and a fiche reader will be free. We may charge some or all of our normal rate if visitors require a large amount of assistance.

To make an appointment call our enquiry desk on 020 7361 3038 (with answer-phone) or e-mail us on centrallocalenquiries@rbkc.gov.uk.

Our opening hours are:
  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 13 – 18.30
  • Wednesday, Saturday 13 – 17
  • Friday 9.30am – 12 and 13 – 17
You can find us in:

Local Studies Department Kensington Central Library Phillimore Walk London W8 7RX


Find out more

If you have any questions or need more information contact libraries@rbkc.gov.uk.


Last updated: 23 February 2021