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London History Day

London History Day is an annual celebration of the capital's extraordinary history and heritage run by Historic England.

London History Day takes place every year on 31 May - the day Big Ben first started keeping time. For just one day, museums, galleries and organisations across the city hold special events and display rare objects that show how London's people and places have contributed to the city's unique identity.

Man standing on a ladder leaning against the clock face inside Big Ben
Londoners voted to hold the first ever London History Day on 31 May 2017 - the anniversary of the day Big Ben first started keeping time © Historic England CC73/02867

Full details of London History Day 2018 will be announced in early April 2018.

The purpose is to delve into the teeming stories that built our city, from discovering 'lost' tube stations to seeing a strand of Lord Nelson's hair. Everyone from the British Museum to the Houses of Parliament are involved.

Evening Standard, 31 May

London History Day is officially a thing, voted in by the public via a YouGov poll devised by Historic England. Londoners were given 10 possible dates, with the opening of the 2012 Olympics among those on the list, but the winning LHD date was the day Big Ben started ticking: May 31 1859. The first instalment is off to a solid start, with special events and rare object displays planned across the city.

‘Things to Do,’ Time Out London, 30 May – 5 June

If you feel you'll be missing out by being stuck in school all day, Sadiq Khan encourages all children to go in dressed as their favourite historic Londoner. If you're a little older — and therefore trapped in an office — we still encourage fancy dress for the day (even if your boss doesn't).

Londonist, 24 May

We are delighted to be participating in London History Day on 31 May, especially as history is very much being written on this date during the pre-election period.

Amy Pitts, Head of Visitor Services and Retail, UK Parliament

London History Day image gallery

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • Photo of Charles Dickens
  • Old Curiosity Shop, City of Westminster, London. Photo taken 1870 - 1900
  • Sigmund Freud’s Symthson note book open on a page showing the names and dates of his visitors.
  • Oscar Nemon sculpture of Sigmund Freud. View from east. Swiss Cottage, Hampstead, Camden.
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