World’s largest collection of London images featured on archives' website

A unique collection of over one quarter of a million images of London, dating from 1450 to the present day, will feature on a new, free-to-access website hosted by the London Metropolitan Archives.

Collage – The London Picture Archive, which will be launched on Thursday 21 July, brings together the world’s largest collection of images of London, including over 8,000 historical photographs of the capital’s streets, images of the 1666 Great Fire of London, and photographs of the construction of Tower Bridge.

The maps, prints, paintings, photographs and films are drawn for the extensive collections at the City of London Corporation’s Guildhall Art Gallery and its Clerkenwell-based London Metropolitan Archives (LMA).

Speaking ahead of the launch, Laurence Ward, the City of London Corporation’s Head of Digital Services at the LMA, said:

“My colleagues and I are delighted that these incredible collections will be made freely available through the website, essentially, a searchable version of a lost London. These images present a fascinating glimpse of nearly 600 years of life in the capital – from the City in Tudor times to the first Tube line. They tell the story of its growth and development, and offer valuable insights into all aspects of nearly 20 generations’ of Londoners’ lives in the city that they called home.”

Visitors to the website (which replaces the former Collage website) will also be able to view pictures of their neighbourhood from bygone days by accessing the London Picture Map, which features images of buildings and places which no longer exist.

Collage – The London Picture Archive will be available from 9.00am on Thursday 21 July at

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages London Metropolitan Archives, invests £80m every year in heritage and cultural activities of all kinds. It is the country’s largest funder of culture, after the Government, the BBC, and the Heritage Lottery Fund. It supports a wide range of arts institutions, including the Barbican Centre, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and the Guildhall Galleries.


Notes to Editors

Laurence Ward, Head of Digital Services at London Metropolitan Archives, is available for media interviews and will provide a range of high resolution images on request. Please call 020 7332 3812 or email

Collage – The London Picture Archive will be launched on Thursday 21 July at 9.00am. For access to the new website prior to the launch date, please visit

About London Metropolitan Archives:

London Metropolitan Archives, which is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation, is a public research centre which specialises in the history of London. It cares for, and provides, access to the historical archives of businesses, schools, hospitals charities and many other organisations from the London area. With 100km of books, maps, photographs, films and documents dating back to 1067 in our strong rooms, it is proud to provide access to one of the finest city archives in the world – essentially, ‘the memory of London’. Its users have a wide range of research interests, including family, community and local history, and it works with students, artists, producers and architects.

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB

Admission: Free, check websites for opening times.

The nearest underground stations are Farringdon and Angel.

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles: (1) it supports London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills projects. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charity, the City Bridge Trust, makes grants of more than £15 million annually to charitable projects across London; and it also supports education with three independent schools, three academic schools, a primary school and the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music & Drama; (2) It also helps look after key London heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, Museum of London, Barbican Centre, London Metropolitan Archives, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important ‘commons’ in south London; and (3) it also supports and promotes the ‘City’ as the world’s leading international financial and business centre, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events, research-driven policies all reflecting a long-term approach.