Library and archive
Detail of page from 'Designs for furniture and decorations for complete house furnishing', a catalogue for the firm Hampton & Sons, c.1892
The museum’s library and archive contains general and specialist publications and manuscript material that relates to the history of the home from the medieval period to the present. This includes books and journals covering a wide variety of subjects such as the decorative arts, architecture, garden history, design and material culture and the social history of the home. The library also holds an extensive collection of trade and retail catalogues of household furnishings and advice manuals, dating from the nineteenth century to the present and runs of magazines relating to interior decoration and gardening. The collection contains many volumes formerly held at the Shoreditch Library covering the decorative arts, particularly furniture.
Fold-out pamphlet advertising Griffin & Shield enamel paint, 'The ideal household enamel', including sample colours, produced by Sissons Brothers and Co., c.1880-1910
The museum also retains and collects a variety of primary source material including photographs of homes, with supporting questionnaires and oral history testimony, domestic inventories and information about the east London furniture trade. There is also an extensive reference resource of visual representations of the domestic interior and a growing collection of wallpaper and textile sample books.
Pages from a book of textile samples, annotated by hand with the date range 1887-1894
A selection of books and magazines for reference is available to all visitors in the Reading Room next to the chapel. Access to other library material and the archive can be arranged by appointment with the Curatorial Department. The department can also answer written, telephone and email enquiries relating to the subject areas described above.
For enquiries and appointments for the library and archive, please call 0207 749 6049 (Curatorial Administrative Assistant) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.