Kingston's archives and local studies collection is a unique and irreplaceable resource which has been built up over many years and is still increasing as more items are offered to the service. The material is widely used by local historians, genealogists, schools and colleges. You may visit personally. Alternatively we offer a limited research service.
From time to time, we will feature in this space an image with some explanatory notes regarding a recent acquisition which we have acquired in our collections.
(Left to right) D. Waller (1), H Arnold (2), D Hine (3), G Wiggins (4), R Hulae (5), A Climons (6), I Hawke (7), L Dovey (8).
This photograph is part of a small collection of Surrey Ladies Swimming Club photographs in the Thames kindly donated to us in digital format by Mrs Young. It represents the competitors in a swimming race taking place at Ravens Ait in 1917. The Club appears to have been formed very early on - in about 1880. Ivy Hawke, 7th from the left, took place in most races; in the summer of 1919, she swam just over 11 miles from Raven’s Ait to Chiswick Church spending six and a half hours in the water. The temperature was said to be ‘very low, and at times a strong head wind retarded the swimmers very considerably.’ Eighteen women started the race, just nine reached Teddington Lock.
Supported by the "Friends of Kingston Museum and Heritage Service" together with Kingston Rotary, this community photographic competition honours the memory of one of Kingston's finest photographers and enriches the Royal Borough's pictorial archives.
Les Kirkin, a member of the Friends and photographer for the Museum and Local History Room for many years, died in 2001. He contributed many of his photographs to the collections as a lifelong resident of the Borough.
The deadline for entries is 1 February 2014
The Theme for 2012–2014 is Tourist gems in our Royal Borough
If you are visiting us in person, please email us with the reference number and title of each document prior to your visit. We usually require a couple of days notice to enable us to prepare the material for you.
Most of our Archives holdings can be seen online through Access to Archives, a national database maintained by the National Archives, and can be viewed on their website. For information on our latest acquisitions, e-mail us; our email address is featured below under address and opening hours.
We have a number of online resources including local history fact sheets and archive material on specific subjects including World War 2 and documents for Citizenship. Although many of these resources are aimed at schools, they give a good overview of the kind of collections we have, including photographs.
The Guide to Parish Registers is the first in a series which are aiming to make available to our researchers. The next title to become available in 2013 will feature resources for the Second World War.
In collaboration with our Engagement and Learning Officer and our Local History Officer, we can offer history workshops for Schools on a variety of subjects from the Medieval era to the Second World War or even local history near your school’s area. These can be put together to meet your specific requirements.
For further information, see our Museum’s Education web page:
Please submit your request for research in writing. Remember to be as clear and concise as possible to avoid confusion. Enclose the minimum fee of £10 with your application. We will invoice you for any extra afterwards. (Please state the maximum you are prepared to pay).
Kingston Local History Room
North Kingston Centre
Kingston upon Thames
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8547 6738
|Mondays||10.00am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm|
10.00am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 7.00pm
Autumn: 17 September 2012 to 15 December 2012
Spring: 14 January 2013 to 23 March 2013
Summer: 15 April 2013 to 29 June 2013
|Thursdays||10.00am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm|
|Fridays||10.00am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm|
Car parking is available at the North Kingston Centre including spaces for disabled people.
The following forms should be used if you wish to order or reproduce items held by Kingston Museum and Heritage Service. Please sign and return by post or in person to
Kingston Museum and Heritage Service
Local History Room
North Kingston Centre
Kingston upon Thames
The forms listed below are the ones to use to order copies of documents, apply to reproduce these or apply to photograph or film any material in our collections:-