Greater London Historic Environment Record (GLHER)
The GLHER is a major resource for the understanding of the historic environment of Greater London.
On this page:
- Temporary changes to services
- What is the GLHER?
- How to access the GLHER
- Charges and service levels for commercial use of GLHER data
- Radius required for search area
- What is the GLHER currently working on?
- Volunteering with the GLHER
Temporary changes to services
GLHER Service over Christmas 2022
Due to staff annual leave, we cannot guarantee that the results of any Standard Searches submitted on or after Monday 12 December, or Priority Searches submitted on or after Thursday 15 December, will be returned before Tuesday 3 January 2023.
Searches submitted in this week (12-16 December) will be logged and we will endeavour to send results where possible, staff time and search complexity permitting.
Any searches submitted between Monday 19 December 2022 and Monday 2 January 2023 will not be logged until Tuesday 3 January 2023.
GLHER to be publicly accessible online from late 2023
The Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service has moved to its new web-based record management system, Arches for Historic Environment Records (Arches for HERs). This is initially on an internal access-only basis - once the system is made fully publicly accessible (late 2023), a significant benefit will be that anyone interested in the heritage of London will be able to view up-to-date GLHER records online.
What is Arches?
Arches for HERs is a collaborative project between the Getty Conservation Institute, Historic England, and the City of Lincoln Council to develop a new heritage management system for use in the UK.
This system is based on the open-source software platform for Cultural Heritage Management, Arches, developed jointly by the Getty Conservation Institute and the World Monument Fund.
More information about the changes and how to use the new online system will be provided nearer the time.
What is the Greater London Historic Environment Record?
The GLHER is a comprehensive and dynamic resource for the historic environment of Greater London. From the earliest human occupation to the present day, its data supports the work of the Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service (GLAAS).
Our computerised record contains over 87,000 entries, providing data on:
- Archaeological sites
- Historic buildings
- Historic parks and landscapes
- Archaeological finds
- Heritage features
- Supporting sources of information
Find out more about what data we hold.
Request a search
The GLHER team will search for and supply you with the relevant GLHER data in digital format, accompanied by a 12-month licence to reuse it. After 6 months, on request, you can get a data update.
There's no charge for searches for members of the public and academic researchers unless the request is for large amounts of data.
The GLHER aims to respond to all searches within 10 working days, but more usually returns results within 5 days.
Commercial enquiries are charged for and a two-day Priority Search service is available at a premium. More about services and charges.
Visit the GLHER office
You can consult the GLHER in person, 10 am-4.30 pm, Monday to Friday. During a visit to our office, you can search the GLHER database and GIS maps, use our small library and explore the physical records we hold.
Email [email protected] to arrange a visit and please check our London office webpage before you set out on the day of your visit. Space is limited, so please give as much notice as possible when making an appointment to visit.
The GLHER online
An abridged and less frequently updated version of the GLHER database is also available online from Heritage Gateway along with over 50 other HERs across England, as well as the National Monuments Record Excavation Index, details of scheduled monuments, listed buildings and registered parks and gardens.
The GLHER database is also available via the Archaeological Data Service: Archsearch webpages. Please note that we only update this twice a year, so information may not be current. For up-to-date information, contact the GLHER team or request a search.
The GLHER team responds to search enquiries within 10 working days, although usually we'll return results to you within 5 days. For large area searches, or searches with many data records, more than 10 days may be needed.
As part of the search, the GLHER team also checks that the data is up-to-date, and adds information on activities (creating new HER 'Event' and 'Source' records) which GLAAS has been notified of but not yet added to the GLHER database; our grey literature report backlog.
Data will be supplied under a 12-month data licence but after 6 months users are entitled to, on request, a free check into whether the data is still up-to-date. If on checking we find that an updated search is necessary, then that would be chargeable.
The standard unit for charging purposes is 15 minutes with a minimum charge of one hour (£100+VAT). A quote will be provided in each case and must be accepted and our data licence signed, before work can start. The quote will be given as +/- 20% the estimated cost of the search. Average charges are likely to be in the range of £100 - 200 (including VAT), generally lower in the Outer London boroughs and increasing in the Inner London boroughs. (see the Greater London Historic Environment Record Access and Charging Policy).
If we have not heard from you within five working days of supplying a quote then we will assume you do not wish to go ahead with the search and our estimate will no longer be valid.
Following a data request, Historic England will send an invoice to the HER user at the end of the month. Payments should be made within 30 days, and access to Historic England (chargeable) services may be suspended if payment is not made within this time.
A priority search will be returned to you within two working days. It costs an additional £65 +VAT and is subject to staff availability.
Enhanced data service
On top of the standard search you can request further enhancement of the HER data to suit your needs. This might include:
- GIS mapping of archaeological excavation areas and borehole locations
- Review and creation of monument records with a short report indicating current interpretations of undesignated heritage assets
- Large area (greater than 10 square kilometres) data agreements providing regular updates prioritised to customer needs.
This is a bespoke service that will be individually specified and costed.
Due to the nature of the work required for enhanced data searches, they cannot be undertaken as priority searches.
How search charges are priced
As a public body, we aim to cover the costs of these services. They are neither subsidised with taxpayers' money, nor make a profit.
All charges are on a full cost recovery (not-for-profit) basis including the full cost of staff time, IT costs and administration time.
What radius do I need for my search area?
It is essential to obtain an up-to-date search on archaeological discoveries and activity for the site and its surroundings from the GLHER, and a licence for data use. It is the responsibility of the organisation undertaking a desk-based assessment to ensure that the search area is appropriate to the location and nature of the development.
Generally, we would expect search areas in Inner London to extend 250–500 metres from the site and in Outer London 500–1000 metres. Discussion with the GLAAS case officer (for searches in the City of London and Southwark contact the Borough Archaeological Advisor) can help ensure an appropriate search is run. Overly narrow search areas or arbitrary limits on the number of records returned should be avoided.
A search on other databases, such as the Heritage Gateway, is not an acceptable substitute for a GLHER search and may constitute a breach of copyright. The Heritage Gateway and the Archaeological Data Service: Archsearch however, may be used as a guide to what may be within your area of interest, and the likely cost for a data licence.
If you need an HER search for a proposed listed building consent application or for a heritage statement relating solely to internal works to a listed building without ground excavation, we will carry out a ‘Property Search’. This involves a check of the GLHER to assess whether any records are held, in addition to designation information, in relation to the property. If we do not hold any relevant records then we will recommend that an HER search is not necessary, providing that the nature of the proposed works does not change. If we do hold relevant records, then we will conduct a full HER search, but restrict the search radius to the property boundary.
Information on designated heritage assets can be accessed, free of charge, via the National Heritage List for England on the Historic England website.
Find out more about the GLHER Access and Charging Policy.
What is the Greater London Historic Environment Record currently working on?
We are working on a number of projects, some of which our volunteers are carrying out for us. Current projects include:
- Adding Locally Listed Buildings to our GLHER database,
- Enhancing our parks and gardens records,
- London workhouses,
- First World War hospitals, and
- Revising our Archaeological Priority Areas.
Volunteering with the Greater London Historic Environment Record
We have a number of opportunities for members of the public, or students to volunteer with the Historic Environment Record team. We provide full training and support so you don't need any previous experience, and you will play a critical role in helping to conserve London's historic environment.