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LSE Archives

Page history last edited by Paul Keenan 14 years, 4 months ago

Date of tip: 6 January 2006 

Source: Lorraine Screene, L.Screene@lse.ac.uk              


Location: Library, London School of Economics and Political Science, 10 Portugal St, London WC2A 2HD, England.

How to get there: Closest tubes are Holborn on the Piccadilly/Central line, or Temple on the District line.

From Holborn station, exit left, walk 5 minutes and turn left on Portugal street. The library is on your right, after a minute’s walk.

From Temple, exit left at the station, walk up Arundel Street, cross the street at the traffic lights and follow the curve of the Aldwych until you reach Houghton Street. Turn right on Houghton street, left at Clare Market, right on Portugal Street, and the library will be on your right in less than a minute.

Please see the map: http://www.lse.ac.uk/resources/mapsAndDirections/howToGetToLSE.htm


Language: English.


Getting started: An appointment is not usually necessary, but researchers are strongly advised to contact the Archivist before they visit. Visitors should bring with them some form of identification with their name and address on it, and if they are students, some evidence of their status and degree course as well. They should report to the main Library reception desk and tell the staff on duty that they wish to use the Archives. They will then be issued with a day ticket for the Library. All visitors to the Archives Reading Room are asked to sign the register each time that they visit. First-time users are also asked to complete a registration card.  Please note that the Library has different admission procedures.

LSE Archives provide some useful tools and services to researchers to enable them to plan and prepare in advance of their visit.  The online Archives Catalogue allows users to browse descriptions of archive collections or to search for records relating to people, organisations, events or places. It is accessible at the following address:


While the Archives Division cannot undertake research for readers they are happy to answer general enquiries relating to the collections that they hold.  Enquiries regarding archives collections and rare books can be sent to:


Alternatively the Archives Division will undertake simple searches of the database on request.  To send the Archives a search request go to:


Opening Hours:

Monday to Thursday 10am - 8pm

Friday 10am - 5pm

Saturday 11am - 6pm (term-time and Easter Vacation only)

Limited service only in the evenings (after 5pm) and on Saturdays. Booking is essential for these times.


General working conditions: The Archive is based within the British Library of Political and Economic Science, so there is also a wealth of published and printed material within easy reach.  Indeed in 2004 the Library was among a small number of libraries and archives across England to be recognised by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) for having outstanding national and international importance under the Designation Scheme.  In particular the MLA stated:  

"The Library is considered to be the most significant centre for social scientists in the UK due to its vast collection of both primary archive resources and secondary resources..”

Primary source material is available for consultation in the Archive Reading Room.  This  is a well proportioned working environment with seating for up to 16 readers.   Researchers appreciate the range of equipment available including a microfilm reader and printer, 2 computers with internet access, magnifying glasses and additional lighting.  There is always a member of staff on duty in the reading room to offer advice or answer questions.  For preservation and security reasons, visitors to the reading room are requested to use pencils or laptops (not pens or biros) for taking notes, to leave their bags and coats in the cloakroom provided and to refrain from eating and drinking.

There is a wealth of cafes, restaurants and bars in the area. On Houghton Street is Wrights Bar, a café/deli that does sit-down and takeaway food of good quality for a great price. The staff are extremely friendly.


Consultation: Researchers are permitted to consult up to 6 files at any given time, but there is no limit to the number of files that can be consulted in one day. During the day documents are fetched from the strongroom on demand (rather than at specific fetching times) and production generally takes no more than 5-10 minutes.  A limited service only operates in the evenings (after 5pm) and on Saturdays, so it is advisable to book in advance for these times.


Policy on technology: Laptops are welcome and power points facilitate their use.  Researchers are permitted to use digital cameras (no flash or tripod) provided that they complete an Application for Self-Service Photography form during their visit.  Personal scanners are not permitted for preservation reasons. 

Photocopy policy: A range of reprographic services are available, including photocopying, scanning, photography and microfilming.  There are some restrictions on copying (e.g. bound volumes cannot be photocopied or scanned for preservation reasons), but wherever possible, staff will offer an alternative method.  Special photocopying rates are available for LSE members.  For full details on copying services and procedures, see: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/archive/reprographic_services.htm

Particularities: Researchers are permitted to eat refreshments in the lobby of the Library.  The Plaza Cafe opposite the Lionel Robbins Building is very convenient for visitors, and a wide variety of cafes and sandwich bars are situated on Kingsway.

How to apply for classified files: Researchers wishing to apply for access to classified files should write to the Archivist.

Contact name in case of questions regarding classified files: Sue Donnelly, Archivist, Document@lse.ac.uk 

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