Research service

Westminster City Archives offers a research service for customers who are unable to visit the Archives Centre. We specialise in building history and Gillow furniture history.

For family history we can supply copies of parish register entries where the exact date and church is known or census entries where the exact address is known.

For family history research we recommend using a professional record agent through the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives.

1. Using the service

Please contact us with your enquiry by email or by letter, including your telephone number in any correspondence. We aim to respond to your enquiry within 4 weeks.

The charge for local history, business history and Gillow furniture research is £41.20 per hour (including VAT). The minimum charge is one hour’s research. Building histories are individually priced.

Advance payment in sterling is required for all orders. A pro-forma invoice and VAT receipt can be provided. We can take payment by credit card (except American Express) – please send details of card type, card number, expiry date and name of account holder.

We advise you not to send the above details via email for security reasons.

You will receive a full written report listing the records consulted and the information found plus copies of most of the relevant records. Any additional copies can be supplied on payment of an extra fee. Even if no positive results are obtained, we will try to advise you of other possible avenues to pursue, but we are unable to refund your research fee.

2. Building history

To discover the history of a building in Westminster, please supply us with the current postal address and, if possible, a small photograph of the main façade or some indication of date.

The charge for building history is £62 per hour or part hour thereof (including VAT). Building histories are individually priced depending on the age of the building and the amount of detail required.

We will check reference books as well as our information index and cuttings file. Our report will include copies of maps and book illustrations. We will also check if we have any prints, photographs or architectural plans. If the building is not already well documented and if the street has been renumbered, we might need to trace the previous occupiers through directories, rate books and deeds to see when the building first appears. The census returns 1841 to 1901 can supply interesting additional information about the occupiers.

The valuation lists for 1965, 1973 and 1990 are held by Capita. Please email or phone 020 8315 2050 for details. The Archives Centre holds rate books for 1965 and a duplicate valuation list for 1973 and can check rateable values for those years at the cost of £40 per address.

3. Gillow furniture history

The Archives Centre holds the estimate sketch-books of Gillow from the mid-18th century to the early 20th century.  There is a complete index of furniture types and also of names and addresses of patrons up to 1825 plus an index of Gillow making numbers.

If you would like us to search for your piece of furniture, please enclose a small photograph and indicate an approximate date if possible. We will send you a copy of the sketch and specification if we find it, but are unable to give valuations; an antique dealer or auction house should be able to help with this.

Last updated: 3 September 2018