The City of Westminster was considerably enlarged by the local government reorganisation of 1965 when the former metropolitan boroughs of St Marylebone and Paddington were incorporated with the old City of Westminster to form the present City of Westminster.
In 1995, the City of Westminster Archives Centre opened, bringing together for the first time the archives and local studies collections relating to both North and South Westminster under one roof. The collection covers hundreds of years of Westminster's history, with the oldest item dating from 1256. It is extremely diverse and includes original hand-written documents, printed books, photographs, watercolours, maps, plans, prints and drawings. Records relating to North Westminster (ie Paddington and Marylebone) include the Ashbridge Collection, an exceptionally comprehensive private library collection relating to Marylebone, bequeathed to St Marylebone Borough Council in 1943.
The Archives Centre is the Diocesan Record Office for south Westminster and most parish registers for the area south of Oxford Street have been deposited here. Deposited records include those of the Grosvenor Estate, Westminster Conservative Association, and Westminster City School.
Among the archives deposited by larger businesses are those of Gillow, furniture makers, which include a fine series of estimate sketch books 1784-1905; Westminster Fire Office minutes 1717-1943; Watney Mann, brewers, including accounts 1784-1960; Liberty & Co, including catalogues and photographs 1883 to the present day; and Jaeger & Co, which include catalogues and publicity material 1883 to the present day. The Centre also holds records of smaller local firms such as tobacconists, tailors, coachmakers, button makers, and shoemakers.
For most Westminster parishes long series of records including rate books have survived. Many of the Westminster City Council records, that is for the period since 1900, are held at Westminster City Hall, but those which are held here are listed in the Local authorities section of this guide.
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