Sutton Local History and Archive Centre


Photo David Knights-Whi  ome Collec  on, DKW_30180H_Savage


David Knights-Whittome Collection, DKW_30180H_Savage


Making the Most of our Facilities


Sutton Local History and Archives Centre preserves the documentary heritage of the borough of Sutton. We have a large collection of items with local and historical significance, gifted to us by donors, purchased by the archive, or deposited here on behalf of local societies, organisations, or businesses.


If you have any items which you would consider donating to the Archive, please speak to a member of staff or email in to local studies (contact information available on next page). We do not accept items ‘over the counter’ and please talk to us in advance before donating.


Archives Search Room


AVAILABLE IN THE SEARCH ROOM are a variety of resources, including: maps, photographs, newspapers on microfilm, ephemera (including pamphlets, brochures, reports, collated information), more local history books, directories, committee minutes, and electoral registers.


There is also a computer available for research, and we can provide assistance for people starting to look at their family history. Please let us know in advance if this is something you would be interested in so we can arrange an appointment for you. You will need a library membership to access the computer.


THE ARCHIVE SEARCH ROOM is available by appointment only on:

  • Thursdays and the first Saturday of every month.
  • Thursdays: 10am - 12:30pm and 2 - 6pm.
  • Saturdays: 10am - 2pm.


THE ELECTORAL REGISTER is also available for consultation during these hours and on Fridays.
Please note: you cannot browse the last 10 years of registers, you have to provide a specific address and you will have to sign a form.
Fridays: 10am - 1pm.


Appointments can be booked by:

  • Emailing [email protected] or [email protected]
  • Calling the search room on 020 8770 4747 or the library on 020 8770 4900
  • Speaking to a member of staff at any library branch
  • Popping in during search room opening times


The Archives


The Borough’s Archives are kept separately from the local studies collection and consist of primary source material relating to the Borough. Many of our items are unique and irreplaceable. We safeguard these collections for current and future users, and abide by the laws that protect many of the records in our care. These are available to view in the Archives Search Room by appointment.


Our Archives Catalogue is available online, at this web address: CalmView: Home Page


You can also search key terms using the National Archives Discovery website, available here: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/


If you require items from the Archive Collection, please provide the reference number when you book your appointment. If you are unsure whether we have something or are unable to view the catalogue, then please get in touch (contact information on previous page).


When visiting the Search Room, please make sure your hands are clean and dry before you handle any items from the collection. We ask that you do not eat or drink anything in the searchroom. No pens are permitted, but you may use a pencil to take notes whilst consulting documents. You may take photographs of most of our documents but you will be asked to fill in a reproduction and copyright declaration form.


Please note: most of our records may be consulted without restrictions; however, some have limited access because they are either too fragile, in need of conservation, or because they are subject to data protection regulations. Permission to view restricted items may be granted for legitimate research purposes only, at the discretion of staff. Please email in to the Archive Manager to discuss this issue.



Photo Family History Centre, Sutton Central Library


Family History Centre


The Local Studies collection encompasses a variety of different resources - printed books, photographs, maps, and newspaper cuttings. These relate both to Sutton, and more generally to Surrey and Greater London. We have especially strong collections of material relating to Croydon Airport and the River Wandle. This is available at the top floor of Sutton Central Library; general history books are available at all library branches.



Family and Local History Centre


Books with a yellow LIBRARY USE ONLY or REFERENCE are reference books - these can be read within the library but cannot be borrowed. The books are catalogued and shelved according to location.


FAMILY HISTORY GUIDES are available to be borrowed from the library; these provide not only a useful starting point for any budding researcher but a great help when it may get a tad difficult.


Ancestry and Findmypast are available to use for free in any Sutton Library site - please see the separate Digital Resources guide or ask a member of staff for assistance.



Useful References


Parish Records


Sutton Archives is a place of deposit for Public Records and a Diocesan Record Office, This means that we hold Parish records for the Borough. Before the introduction of civil registration in 1837, the Church of England governed much of the social administration of the parish. Parish registers of the Church of England are the most comprehensive source of information about individuals from the 16th to the first half of the 19th century. Feel free to pop in during Search Room opening hours to view a physical catalogue of parish records. A number of these have also been made available on Ancestry.


Researching House History?


We have various sales particulars, house deeds, and potentially photographs! If you want to know who lived in your house or if it used to have a name rather than a number, you can explore the directories and the electoral registers. There are maps to show street development and, depending on how far back you want to go, tithe and enclosure maps to see who owned and/or rented the land or buildings in the mid-1800s.


The Past on Glass Flickr Account

If you are interested in local history and the work that goes on in our Archive department, then take a look at our blog, updated regularly with research written by us and our team of volunteers.




Summaries of key places, people, and archives are also available on our website, view here: https://libraries.sutton.gov.uk/digital-content/sutton-heritage/local-history


If you are on X (Formerly Twitter), then follow us:
@SuttonArchives for incredible snapshots of what we have in our Archives and Archive Search Room.


Also follow @SuttonHeritage on Facebook, X Formerly Twitter and Instagram for all the up-to-date information on events run by Sutton’s heritage houses, Whitehall Historic House, Honeywood Museum, and Little Holland House, and the teams that run them.


For all the up-to-date information on events, subscribe to the Sutton Scene newsletter.

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View our Heritage Lottery funded project, The Past on Glass, on Flikr. This project conserved, catalogued, and digitised the David Knights-Whittome glass plate negative collection (1905-1918), discovered in the High Street and held at Sutton Archives.


The Past on Glass