Open House Festival

London Metropolitan Archives


F. W. Troup and H. R. Steele, 1939

40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HB

LMA's older building was built in the late 1930s for the Temple Press and has many original features. Purpose built extension in early 1990s for archival storage. Public rooms remodelled by Bisset Adams in 2000s.

Getting there


Angel, Farringdon


Farringdon, King's Cross


19, 38, 341, 63, 55, 243, 153




Key Facts

Origins: Building opened 1938 (see plaque in C entrance) as a printworks.

Concrete frame – projected additional storey and helipad.

Foundation stone: Mrs Roland Dangerfield, 28 September 1938

Architects: Searle and Searle, W S Hattrell and Partners, F W Troup and HR Steele

Original contractors: Stuart’s Granolithic Company Limited (LMA/4679) – LMA has the company archive and a photographic record showing the construction of the current site – surrounded by tenement blocks. Built on the historic Northampton Estate which owned the Manors of Clerkenwell and Canonbury (records at LMA under E/NOR).

Original Owners: Temple Press Limited, later IPC Magazines

Wartime use as air-raid shelter for local residents in Basement corridor 1939-1945

Converted: 1982/1983 to archive repository by Greater London Council, transferred to City of London Corporation 1986.

New Block: Built 1992. Stocked 1994. Purely storage.

Cost: £3.859 million with funding from the London Residuary Body.

Contractors: Beazer Ltd

Dimensions: Total: 111,633 sq feet or 10,400 sq metres
Whole building 1.6 million cubic feet

Shelving: 100 km (100,000 Metrelength shelves)

Strongrooms: 30 separate strongrooms

Environmental conditions: 18-19 degrees; 45-55% relative humidity

Specialist storage conditions for: Films, photos and microfilms, plus framed items.

Windows: Critall (replaced 2006/7 in £2.1 million scheme) 1400 sq m of glass

Fire Suppression: London Fire Brigade regards the two blocks as separate buildings.

Wet-pipe sprinkler system; 28 fire shutters; 485 smoke detectors

4 hour fire walls, 2 hour fire doors

240 cubic metre water tank double pumps in car park

Visitor Facilities

Public Rooms redesigned and refurbished 2008 with assistance from Bisset Adams Design with the aim to provide business like, welcoming, easy access open space for research. Use of glass and removal of solid block walls to create an attractive light space. Made feature of coloured pipes as unable to hide industrial heritage of building. Free entry – access to archives and catalogues is free of charge. Fully accessible First Floor with lifts, toilets and level surfaces.

Information Area plus Archive Study Area for quiet study and a Mediatheque for access to digital resources including films and images.

Exhibition Area

New area carved out 2013 new exhibitions every 6 months, currently Unforgotten Lives.

Previous included Magnificent Maps, Victorian photographs, The Londoners, Speak Out LGBTQ, War in London, Life on the London Stage, Criminal Lives 1780-1925, Picturing Forgotten London, Child Health

Plant and Power

Energy Rating: B rating (one of best in City of London estate) partly achieved by excellent insulation and using chillers overnight.

Heating and Ventilation: 3 gas boilers in Old Block

Air-conditioning: 3 chillers and 2 humidifiers/dehumidifiers (20% fresh air/ 80% recirculation) in New Block

Electricity sub-station: 11,000 volts, protected by C02

Film Credits

Apart from the obvious appearances on Who Do You Think You Are? and Timewatch, Chronicle, and BBC London News the LMA building has been used for filming in

Prime Suspect
Waking the Dead

And in a music video for the song Put Him Out (2002) by Ms Dynamite as a nightclub….

Online presence


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