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.


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

Cemeteries and Crematoria in or near Kensington and Chelsea

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

Find out more

If you have any questions or need more information contact