Photograph of Billingsgate Market Porters and Traders

This page provides access to a number of ways of searching and browsing through the Collections Catalogue, all of which differ from the the search box that you'll see on the home page and at the top of every page. Those search boxes use the search format All these keywords, our recommeded search format.

The catalogue contains over 3 million descriptions of documents and finding exactly what you need in such a large body of information can be challenging at times.If you have any problems finding what you're looking for, or if this is your first time and you want to understand how searching works, read our guide to Using the Catalogue.

Use the form below to search over 3 million descriptions of documents in the collection at London Metropolitan Archives. The documents described within the catalogue include books, maps, photographs and films.

The Search Terms field allows you to search across our descriptive database. The buttons below the Search Terms field allow you to specify exactly how the search will use your search keywords to find records in the Collections Catalogue.

All of these keywords is our recommended search format and is also the one used by the search boxes on the home page and at the top of every page.

Any of these keywords will return a much higher number of results but is only likely to be useful where you're using very specific search keywords (for example, using the word London will return a lot of results in this format!).

Exact Phrase will usually return a far smaller number of results and can be useful when you know exactly how something is described in the catalogue.

You can set further criteria for your search in the individual fields below, using the ‘and/or’ statements to create complex searches which focus on formats (e.g. Photographic Image) and date ranges (e.g. 1901-2000). They can be used in conjunction with the Search Terms field, or on their own.

Each of our documents has a unique reference code (e.g. the reference code of the William Shakespeare's Blackfriars Property Deed is CLC/522/MS03378). You can search on reference codes in the Search Terms field, but please note that they must be entered in absolutely the same format as they appear in the catalogue, with the correct number of leading zeros where relevant. If the reference code you are looking for is not recognised, try browsing the Reference Code and Former Reference Code fields.

For further information on using this form, click the help icons help next to Advanced Search above, and the individual fields below.

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Browsing the collections is a great way to start your research if you're not looking for a specific document or group of archives. You can use the two options below to browse by category or title. Browsing by category will provide an alphabetically sorted list of all collections with the same subject classification (for examples, businesses or charities). Browsing by title will provide an alphabetically sorted list of all collections with titles which start with the same letter.

OR Browse by Collection Title

This page contains links to indexes and transcriptions of archives held at London Metropolitan Archives.

The indexes to the Lloyd's Captains Registers were compiled by a volunteer project, which has made a significant contribution to the development of the collection.

This page will be updated as new indexes and transcripts become available.

Indexes to Lloyd's Captains Registers


The Registers give details of the careers as captain and/or mate, on those vessels whose voyage details were transmitted to Lloyd's of London, of merchant sea captains who held British or British colonial master's certificates. By no means were all Captains British citizens. For further details please see LMA information leaflet 'Lloyd's of London "Captains Registers" and related sources', available from the LMA website.

These indexes are for the series CLC/B/148/B/019/MS18567, covering the years 1869 (retrospective to 1851 for those masters and mates still sailing in 1869)-1911; captains still active after that date will be found in later series held at LMA which are not covered by these indexes. The indexes may also be consulted in LMA's Information Area.

The indexes list captains by name, noting variants given, followed by date and place of birth, also noting variants. The certificate number, and its place and date of award, if known, are listed, with a note of changes in the number and the volume in which this first occurs. Not all this information is found in every volume: in some entries a captain may be known only by his initials, or his birthplace may be listed in a partial form. If information of this kind, such as date of birth, is not given in the indexes, it is not to be found in the original.

Cross-references in the text of the indexes indicate names spelt in more than one way in different volumes, but this is not exhaustive, and all possible spelling variants should be checked. Where two entries are recorded in the same volume for a particular individual, both should be checked, as they often contain information about different voyages.

Additional qualifications are given (such as "Steam", which entitled the holder also to captain steam vessels, or "Steamships", whose holders could captain only such vessels), followed by the date of award if known.

The indexes also list the volume numbers within the series CLC/B/148/B/019/MS18567 in which the captain appears, with a note of the years for which voyage details are given. Dates of death, suspensions, and cancellations of certificates are sometimes given in the original Registers, but have not been included in these indexes.


The following letters for the series covering 1869 (retrospective to 1851 for masters and mates still sailing in 1869) -1911 have been indexed:

  • A 
  • B 
  • C 
  • D 
  • E 
  • F 
  • G 
  • H 
  • I 
  • J 
  • K 
  • L 
  • M 
  • N 
  • O 
  • P 
  • Q 
  • R 
  • S 
  • T 
  • U 
  • V 
  • X 
  • Y 
  • Z 

There are currently two catalogues for the London Metropolitan Archives reference library. One is a card index, organised separately by subject and author. Please ask staff at the Information desk for assistance with the card index. This is best way to access the largest part of our library.

Secondly, recent additions to the library are listed on the City of London libraries online catalogue. To use the catalogue to search for books held at London Metropolitan Archives:

  • From the opening page, change the drop down list on the far left of the blue banner from Everything to Library Search.
  • In the All Fields drop down list, choose whether you want to search all fields in the Library Catalogue or just Author or Title etc.
  • Add your search terms in the box in the blue banner and click search.
  • Your search results will include items from our library and all the other City of London lending and reference libraries. To limit your search to show only books in our library, tick the London Metropolitan Archives box in the Library menu on the left and click Include.
  • Your search results will include items from our print and map collections as well as library books. If you want to see results for library books only, tick the Books in the Format menu on the left and click Include.

If you have found a book that interests you in the card index which isn't available on the shelves, please complete the form below to request it (note - the form will only appear if you have a History Card and are logged in).

If you would like your order to be produced today, click the 'Request Now' button. Your request will be added to the next document collection (a confirmation message will tell you which collection the request was added to). If you would like to reserve the book for another day, click the request later button and follow the on screen process.

This form should be used only to request library books. If you are unsure about how to fill it in, please speak to our staff on the Information desk.

You can also use the catalogue to search for books held at all the other City of London reference and lending libraries, most of which are within a 20 minute walk of London Metropolitan Archives.

Library Book Request Form

Search for digital documents using the form below. If you would rather browse, try the options further below on this page which allow you to view documents by date or subject. You can filter your results by date or format on the page that follows. This search is limited to approximately 1000 digital documents only. To search the entire Collections Catalogue, visit our main search page.

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London has long been home to a very diverse population, a fact often obscured by mainstream British history which traditionally excludes the histories of people of colour, centres 'whiteness' and upholds narratives constructed by colonialism.

Switching the Lens refocuses our attention on Londoners of African, Caribbean, Asian and Indigenous heritage. The dataset draws on records of individuals from Anglican parish registers at London Metropolitan Archives and is the result of research carried out by staff and volunteers which began in 2000 as the British Library funded Black and Asian Londoners project and continues today at London Metropolitan Archives. To find out more, see About Switching the Lens below.

The histories revealed are a testimony to the diversity of London life. We encounter Mary Fillis, a Moroccan who was baptised in 1597; Anne Vause, wife of Anthonie, a royal trumpeter employed at the Tower of London and buried in 1616; Phillip, an Indian born in Zarat (Surat), Gujarat and baptised in 1623; George Adomo, from Jacquin and servant to the Emperor of Dahomey (Benin), who was baptised in 1732; Jonathan Strong, an enslaved man brought to London from Barbados who challenges the status of slavery in the City courts in 1767; and Beuraws Panfield, a sailor from HMS Voluntaire, who, having fought in Napoleonic wars, was baptised in Bethnal Green in 1813.

Please note - The language used in the original records which appear as digital images and transcribed text in this dataset includes offensive and insensitive terms. The inclusion of the terms is not an endorsement of such language or an uncritical tolerance of the perpetuation of such language.

Use the form below to search the dataset and discover records for over 2600 Londoners. To find out more about the project, visit the Switching the Lens search page.

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Browse Streets

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