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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): COL/CC/LIB
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives - click here to see details of the physical location of collection
Date(s): 1824-1998
Level of description: subfonds
View parent record
Extent: 9.1 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Corporation of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The concept of the Court of Common Council grew from the ancient custom of the Folkmoot, when the assent of the citizens to important acts was obtained. This custom was continued by the Mayor who consulted the Commons several times during the 13th century. From 1376 the assembly began to meet regularly and was referred to as the Common Council. It was decided that the Council should be made up of persons elected from each Ward. By 1384 a permanent Common Council chosen by the citizens was established for all time. The Council assumed legislative functions and adopted financial powers, confirmed by Charters of 1377 and 1383. The Council has often used these powers to amend the civic constitution, regulate the election of Lord Mayor and other officials, and amend the functions of the City courts. The Council was judged so successful in the conduct of its duties that it was the only Corporation unreformed by Parliament following the Municipal Corporations Commission report of 1837, while the Corporation Inquiry Commission of 1854 suggested only minor reforms. The work of the Council is conducted by a number of committees, while the whole Council has the right to approve policy, confirm major decisions and sanction expenditure. The committees handle many aspects of the running of the City including land and estates, finance and valuation, open spaces, street improvement and town planning, public health, police, Port of London, civil defence, airports, libraries, markets, education, and law. The Town Clerk has held responsibility for recording the minutes of the Council and its committees since 1274.

The Library Committee was responsible for the direction of the Guildhall Library and Art Gallery, other Corporation libraries, the Barbican Art Gallery and the Guildhall Museum (now part of the Museum of London). On 24 Oct 1985 the Common Council agreed to transfer the Greater London Record Office to the Corporation following the GLC's abolition on 1 Apr 1986. It was recommended that the Library Committee should be responsible for the GLRO once it was transferred to the Corporation, and its title was changed to the Libraries, Art Galleries and Records Committee to reflect this wider scope. In April 1998 the transfer of responsibility for the Barbican Art Gallery, from the committee to the Barbican Centre Committee, caused a further change of name to The Libraries, Guildhall Art Gallery and Archives Committee.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Libraries, Guildhall Art Gallery and Archives Committee, Court of Common Council, comprising journals, 1824-1856; minutes, 1828-1998 (minutes from 1975 onwards are closed); committee papers, 1828-1957 (papers 1939-1940 were destroyed by enemy action) and list of committee, summary of persons and duties, standing orders, rules and regulations and so on, 1930-1931.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Corporation of London Records Office.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For Corporation of London records relating to museums, libraries and art galleries, see: CLA/076: Museum of London, COL/AC: Archives, COL/CC/BRA: Barbican Arts Centre Joint Working Party (Arts Centre), COL/CC/BRC: Barbican Centre Committee, COL/CC/GHY: Guildhall Yard East Building Committee, COL/CC/LIB: Libraries, Guildhall Art Gallery and Archives Committee, COL/CC/LMC: Library and Museum Committee, COL/CC/MLB: Museum of London Board of Governors, COL/LBD/AD: Libraries and Art Galleries: Administration, COL/LBD/AG: Libraries and Art Galleries: Guildhall Art Gallery, COL/LBD/GHL: Libraries and Art Galleries: Guildhall Library and COL/LBD/MUS: Libraries and Art Galleries: Guildhall Museum.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
February 2009

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