Hackney Archives getting ready to move to new library in Dalston

Hackney Archives is getting ready to move to its new home in the brand new library currently being built in Dalston.

At 1pm on Friday 18 February, Hackney Archives (43 De Beauvoir Road N1) will temporarily shut its doors so that staff can start packing away all the collections ready for the move.

This process will take some time as there are many items in the collections, including documents dating back to the fourteenth century, that need to be handled with care. The borough’s collections include -

• official administrative records of the borough council and its predecessors dating back to 1700

• original records of local organisations and individuals

• a local studies library

• photographs

• maps

• newspapers

The collections currently occupy up to about 2 linear kilometres of shelving. Approximately 3000 archival-quality boxes of material will be moved, along with many other loose items, some of which are very large and in a variety of formats, all requiring careful handling to minimize the risk of damage. Staff will also be spending time developing new resources to improve our services, including improved catalogues and new information leaflets about using different aspects of the collections.

From 21 February up to when the Council’s new library at Dalston opens later this year there will be a limited enquiry service. Anyone who would have wanted to access the borough’s archives should call 020 7241 2886 or email for more information.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “This is an exciting time for Hackney Archives as they get ready to move to a new home in our flagship library in Dalston. We will be running a limited service until then and ask that you bear with us until our improved service opens later in the year.”

Although the unique information held at the Archives will not be available during the closure, it is possible to find some historical information relating to Hackney elsewhere.

Birth, marriage and death certificates can be obtained either from the Hackney Registrar for Births, Marriages and Deaths ( or the General Register Office (see for further information).

London Metropolitan Archives holds collections relating to London, including some information about Hackney, such as registers of baptisms, marriages and burials in Church of England parishes in Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington, and some records of schools in the borough. Further information can be found at

Next year all the collections at Hackney Archives will be available for use by all on the second floor of the state of the art building, including over 20,000 historic photographs and maps from throughout Hackney’s history and what are thought to be the oldest documents in the collections, a bundle of property records relating to land in different parts of London, dating back to 1356.

Over the next few months, the new building at Dalston Lane will be fitted out to provide a flagship library and archive. The library will be over twice as large as the existing CLR James library that it replaces, while the archives and local studies area will serve the entire borough. The Library and Archive will also contain a cafe, something that customers have said they would like to see.

The new library and archive are part of the Council’s wider vision for the regeneration of Dalston, which includes transport links from Dalston Junction; the development of more than 500 new homes, including affordable homes; the cultural hub of Gillett Square; and improvements to Ridley Road market.

The new library will feature separate adult and children s libraries, a teen zone and a quick picks area. This area is designed for people with only a few minutes to spare so they can pop into the library, select a best seller, issue it to themselves using the state of the art self service technology and be on their way within a few minutes. There will be a wide range of books, study materials and online reference sources, as well as community and education facilities.