AfL Seminar:  Alderman Arnold fitz Thedmar – London’s first civic historian.

Wednesday 27th February 2019, 18.00 – 19.30 (doors open at 17.30)
Huntley Room, London Metropolitan Archives

Arnold fitz Thedmar (1201-74) was a wealthy merchant and a second generation German immigrant who became an alderman and a spokesman for the German merchants in London. He was responsible for the production of a book which was the first of its kind in the British Isles, which is a unique lay source and the first British secular, civic chronicle.

This recounts various events in the period between Magna Carta and the parliamentary state, when the country was torn apart by civil war, and when London was divided by internal strife and communal revolution. This talk will introduce Arnold and his ground-breaking work. It will show how careful analysis of Arnold’s book reveals much about how Arnold went about his work as a historian, and will then discuss Arnold’s value as a chronicler of one of the most momentous and troubled periods in the history of England and London.

Dr Ian Stone, who is preparing an edition of Arnold’s chronicle for Oxford University Press, completed his Ph.D at King’s College London. He is also currently writing a history of the

Worshipful Company of Masons, one of London’s ancient livery companies. He regularly publishes his work in print, online and on his blog at

Advance booking is essential. Please book your place through Eventbrite or by telephoning Alex Fisher (AfL Secretary) on 020 7594 8818.

Free for AfL members, £6 for non-members

AfL Practical: Trade Directories

Wednesday 6th March 2019: 2pm – 5:30pm
John Stow Room at Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, EC2V 7HH

The Guildhall Library is the premier library for London’s history, and in conjunction with London Metropolitan Archives holds a spectacular collection of trade directories, from 1677 to the 1990s. This workshop led by AfL Board member Jane Insley is intended for individuals who may not have come across directories before, to give an idea of the kinds of information they contain, and the various means of access to that information.

A selection of print London directories covering dates across the range will be available for individual inspection, along with access to on-line versions through Ancestry, and an example of microfilm versions (which may be the more normal format available to individual researchers). The directories were never intended to last more than a few months, so careful archive handling is required. Exactly which volumes will be available on the day will depend on their condition.

There are up to 20 places on the workshop. AfL Practicals are events designed to be open and applicable to both archive practitioners and archive users.

The Guildhall Library does not have refreshment facilities, but there is scope for short breaks.

Advance booking is essential. Please book your place through Eventbrite or by telephoning Alex Fisher (AfL Secretary) on 020 7594 8818.
Cost: AfL members £10, non-members £20


We have a whole host of exciting seminars coming up.  Tickets are normally released on Eventbrite around one month before the seminar.  Our membership secretary will email members when ticket sales go live.  Seminars are usually held at the London Metropolitan Archives with doors opening at 5.30pm for a start time of 6pm. Here are some dates for your diaries:

27th February – Alderman Arnold fitz Thedmar – London’s first civic historian.
27th March
24th April
22nd May
26th June
24th July

Past Seminars include:

  • 6th September – ‘Saved from a skip and selected in a Swiss chateau: the curious journeys of archive collections at the Charles Dickens Museum’ [this is the seminar rescheduled from March following some highly unseasonable snow!].
  • 4th October – ‘The Extraordinary Records in the London Metropolitan Archives for the Rebuilding of St Paul’s Cathedral after the Great Fire.’
  • 1st November – ‘Mapping history with The Layers of London Project: partnership, public engagement and the art of looking up.’
  • 6th December – Archives of the Worshipful Company of Musicians
  • 23rd January – From Big Ben to the Liberty Bell: the archives of Whitechapel Bell Foundry


We run workshops for professional archivists and archives users based on the needs of our membership.  While we have none currently planned, we would like to hear from you if you have a particular skill or topic you would like to see covered.  You can contact us here.

Find details of our upcoming practical session at the top of this page.