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London History Day

Join us to celebrate Historic England’s first ever London History Day on Wednesday 31 May – the date that Big Ben first started keeping time in 1859.

40 of the city’s museums and galleries will stage special events and rare displays for one day only. From the treasures of the Thames to the document which granted London its rights and freedoms, family workshops to walking tours and talks, enjoy delving into London’s diverse history.

Plan your London History Day

  • see what's going on near you on the London History Day map
  • or browse objects and events by venue below then follow the links to book tickets

Tell us about your #LondonHistoryDay on Twitter.

  • Altab Ali Park

    Altab Ali Park

    Explore Bengali history in and around Brick Lane.

  • Rotunda post restoration

    Art on the Underground

    Learn more about Eduardo Paolozzi’s incredible mosaics at Tottenham Court Road station.

  • People in pub listening to talk

    Association of Art Historians

    Learn about London’s rich history of art, architecture and alcohol at Art History in the Pub.

  • Close up of concrete on the Barbican Centre

    Barbican Centre

    Get close to miles of concrete covering London’s famed Brutalist landmark.

  • Interior of the Barbican Library

    Barbican Library

    See a rare book that reveals London’s history and listen to a talk on medieval St Paul’s Cathedral.

  • Scroll on the front of Benjamin Franklin House

    Benjamin Franklin House

    See two blue plaques celebrating Benjamin Franklin, one that took a while to find its correct home!

  • Bishopsgate Institute

    Bishopsgate Institute

    Discover London’s club scene, from the Roaring Twenties to Nineties Britpop and beyond.

  • Exterior of the Black Cultural Archives heritage centre

    Black Cultural Archives

    Black Sound celebrates 100 years of black British music with a focus on musicians from Brixton.

  • Exterior photo of the British Library

    The British Library

    Visit one of a first edition of the Communist Manifesto published in London by Karl Marx 1848.

  • The Battersea shield

    British Museum

    Discover objects that tell the stories of past communities that have used London’s river.

  • Doughty Street, looking north

    Charles Dickens Museum

    Walk in Dickens’s footsteps and discover why he was the great social reformer of Victorian England.

  • Masters Court at Charterhouse

    The Charterhouse

    Discover more about a lost tube station at the Charterhouse, an almshouse in the heart of the City of London.

  • The Richard Bridge Organ

    Christ Church Spitalfields

    Step inside Hawksmoor’s architectural masterpiece where the City of London meets the East End.

  • Recognition kit

    City of London Police Museum

    Learn about the City of London’s policing past, the models that remind us of notorious crimes and join a walking tour to explore modern policing.

  • Painting of a steam train running along tracks with buildings in the background

    The Courtauld Gallery

    See a newly built London suburb through an artist’s eyes.

  • The underground roundel on the Design Museum's crowd-sourced wall surrounded by other everyday objects that are also design classics.

    The Design Museum

    Visit the iconic roundel that has adorned the Underground for over 100 years.

  • Postcard of Vauxhall Gardens

    The Foundling Museum

    Join the masquerade at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.

  • Smythson notebook

    Freud Museum London

    See the handwritten list kept by Sigmund Freud of the famous names who visited him whilst he practiced in London.

  • Exterior of the restored  almshouse

    Geffrye Museum

    Discover a newly restored 18th century almshouse in the heart of Bethnal Green.

  • Workman Chaos on London Bridge

    Guildhall Art Gallery

    See paintings that show pomp and pageantry of the 1780’s and then go back further in time and experience life with the Romans.

  • Guildhall Library

    Guildhall Library

    The impact of good stories can last for years. Visit the Guildhall Library to see a child’s storybook that has lasted nearly 200.

  • Original necklace owned by Jimi Hendrix laying on bed next to black hat

    Handel & Hendrix in London

    Rock, paper, stone, experience objects from Jimi's London life.

  • Elizabeth Tower clock face

    Houses of Parliament

    Celebrate 1,000 years of Parliamentary history and London’s most famous clock.

  • Fournier Street

    Huguenots of Spitalfields

    Follow in the footsteps of the Huguenots and refugees who found a home in Spitalfields.

  • Group of black and white aerial photos of London

    Institute of Historical Research

    Explore London’s development, history and heritage, through maps that show change from the Romans to now.

  • Dr Johnston’s House

    Dr Johnson’s House

    A glimpse into the world of Dr Johnson, compiler of the Dictionary of the English Language.

  • Coffin laying in the palm of a hand

    King's College London - Strandlines

    Hear the tale of Lord Nelson, the Strand and a strand of Nelson's hair.

  • Dear Diary exhibition: Hashtag a Day

    King’s Cultural Institute

    Celebrate London time with a Pepys diary and its digital descendant.

  • Kirkaldy Testing and Experiment Works

    Kirkaldy Testing Museum

    Discover the machine which tested some of the world’s most iconic infrastructures.

  • Fire engines and equipment on display

    London Fire Brigade Museum

    Visit the London Fire Brigade pop-up museum where you can join in the family activities and see highlights from their photographic archives.

  • Great Parchment Book

    London Metropolitan Archives

    Discover the history of London through ancient documents and modern films.

  • Artefacts on river bed

    MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology)

    Join archaeologists on London’s longest archaeological site, the Thames.

  • Recreated Victorian street

    Museum of London

    Visit the museum that documents the history of London from prehistoric to modern times.

  • Edwin Landseer by John Ballantyne, c. 1865

    National Portrait Gallery

    Come face to face with the fascinating people who have shaped the capital’s history.

  • Model close up

    New London Architecture

    See London’s growth - past, present and future - with the New London Model.

  • Wood panelled chapel

    Oxford House

    Discover Oxford House, a hidden treasure in East London.

  • Brian Sewell exercising his dogs in Kensington Gardens, c.1970s

    Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

    View a small display showcasing items from the Archive of Londoner Brian Sewell, ‘Britain’s most famous and controversial art critic’.

  • Royal Exchange

    Royal Institute of British Architects

    Digitally delve into RIBA’s collections to learn about current and lost buildings in the capital.

  • Doorcase from 56 Lincoln's Inn Fields

    Science Museum

    Learn about the power of mathematics on London architecture through an 18th-century door salvaged from Lincoln's Inn Fields.

  • Former Peckham Road Fire Station

    South London Gallery

    Discover London’s earliest fire station, soon to be transformed into a cultural hot spot.

  • Key to the Patchwork of the Century

    Southbank Centre

    Revisit great historical episodes with the spirit of brave new world craft.

  • The Jubilee Cope - an extraordinary masterpiece of English ecclesiastical embroidery, decorated with the spires of seventy-three London Churches and St Paul’s Cathedral.

    St Paul's Cathedral

    Learn about seventy-three stitched spires.

  • Tower Bridge and the River Thames

    Tower Bridge

    Learn about the man who often stopped the traffic but kept the river flowing.

  • Walk History app

    Walk History

    Download Historic England’s free app to explore London’s stories.