Press Releases

800 years of local history moves to the heart of Kingston

The new Kingston History Centre, which holds over 800 years of local history, is launching in the newly-refurbished former magistrates court in Guildhall on Wednesday 28 October.

Previously known as the Local History Room and Archives, the Kingston History Centre holds records dating back to 1208, including rare books, maps, photographs and charters.

Two new readers have also been installed for visitors to use, displaying microfilms of previous editions of the Surrey Comet newspaper.

Councillor Andrea Craig, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Heritage, Arts and Leisure at Kingston Council, said:

"Supporting and celebrating Kingston’s heritage as the oldest royal borough and restoring civic pride for our residents is a key priority for the Council - the launch of the Kingston History Centre in the heart of Kingston town centre is a great step to achieving this.

“The new location, in the former magistrates court, allows us to open up the Centre to visitors for the first time on Saturdays and there will also be a late night opening on Thursdays until 7pm which we are really excited about. Our hope is that more people will have the opportunity to see and enjoy our substantial history within a beautiful setting.

“We have been working hard to ensure that people can access our historical pieces in a number of different ways, from popping in to see us to making use of our research service and we even have a large amount of our archive on the National Archives online database for all to see.

"I invite everyone to come along and see if they can find out more about not only the borough itself, but the generations of people who lived in Kingston before us.”

For more information on the Kingston History Centre, visit To view Kingston’s online archive, visit

Visitors are asked to allow two weeks to access materials from the archive and some of the local history collections.