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Local Studies Library

Old Town Hall, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond, TW9 1TP

Opening hours

Local Studies is open for drop-ins at the following times:

  • Tuesday to Friday from 1.30 to 6pm
  • Alternate Saturdays from 9.30am to 4pm (closed for lunch 12.30 to 1.30pm). Contact us to check which dates we will be open.

It is possible to visit on a Tuesday to Friday morning by appointment. Contact us before your visit:

  • For Tuesday morning visits, contact us by the preceding Friday
  • For Wednesday to Friday morning visits, contact us at least the day before

If the appointment has not been confirmed by staff, it will not be possible to visit that morning.

Request an item

We encourage visitors to let us know what day they plan to visit and what collection items they would like to consult or what information they are trying to find. This allows us to get out documents in advance, meaning that visitors spend less time waiting during their visit.

Visiting us

Local Studies is at the top of the building. Take the stairs or the lift to the second floor and from there take one more flight of stairs up to Local Studies. On arrival you will be greeted by Local Studies staff.

What to bring with you

Local Studies is a pencil-only environment, and pens are not allowed. Bring with you any pencils and paper that you will need.

It will be possible to bring a camera with you to take photographs of documents if you wish, although please be aware that there is a charge for this. Staff can advise you of the self-service photography charges before or during your visit. 

Please bring cash if you expect to take photographs of documents, or to request photocopies or scans. Card payments are not accepted.

What to expect during your visit

All visitors to Local Studies are asked to place their coats and bags in a locker and to keep with them only those items that they need for their research. Locker keys can be collected from Local Studies staff. Please be aware that the lockers are small and cannot take large items.

Due to the fragile nature of the collection items, gloves must be worn if you have hand sanitiser or hand cream on your hands - gloves will be provided. If you have clean, dry hands washed with soap and water, gloves aren't required except when handling specific collection items - staff will advise when gloves are necessary.

If you would like staff to make photocopies or scans of any of the documents provided to you during your visit, or if you would like to take photographs with your own device, please be aware that there are charges for this. Staff can advise you of the charges before or during your visit.

We are unable to take card payments at Local Studies and can only accept payment by cash or cheque.

There are no cafes or refreshment areas in the building. Food and drink cannot be consumed on the premises.


Access to Local Studies is not step-free. If you require step-free access, let us know in advance of your visit and we will arrange for your visit to take place in a part of the building that is step free.

Accessibility information for the Old Town Hall is available on the AcessAble website.

If you have any questions about accessibility, please contact us to discuss.

About the collection

The Local Studies Collection provides access to material relating to the history of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It contains the collections previously held by the former boroughs of Barnes, Richmond and Twickenham.

Online catalogue

With our online catalogue you can search thousands of records from the archives of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, covering Barnes, East Sheen, Ham, Hampton, Hampton Hill, Hampton Wick, Kew, Mortlake, Petersham, Richmond, Teddington, Twickenham and Whitton.

Cataloguing work is ongoing, and we are regularly updating the database. If you cannot find what you are looking for you can contact us.

The catalogue includes a large collection of building plans which have been catalogued and scanned with funding provided by HLF.

Film collections

Most of the borough's moving image collections are looked after by London's Screen Archives, and many of the films can be watched online. 

Genealogy and family history

Many people are interested in their family history. There are several places where you can find out information, and there are many useful links to external websites.

Lockdown diaries

Local Studies is putting out a call for diaries written by residents in this unusual time.

Miles Better health walks

Put your best foot forward and learn more about the history of Richmond upon Thames with our fascinating health walks.

Online resources

The Local Studies team publishes some of its local history notes about people and places in the borough online. There is also a set of illustrated timelines:

Amongst our online reference services, Richmond Libraries also has a subscription to Ancestry Library Edition, the leading family history website. Please note that this can only be used on library premises.

Contact us

Old Town Hall, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond, TW9 1TP - Getting here

Phone: 020 8734 3309

Updated: 17 June 2024

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