What the TfL Corporate Archives are

An archive is an accumulation of historical information known as records. Examples of records include letters, reports, notes, memos, maps, photographs, recordings, films, and other sources.

Over the years, our records have given us an insight into how our organization has changed since the middle of the 19th century, as well as a better understanding of social and economic developments.

What we do

We're responsible for safeguarding this corporate memory of Transport for London and its predecessor companies.

Because of their cultural value, we take great care to preserve these archives for everyone's use and enjoyment. The paper archives and portable storage media are held securely in a salt mine in Cheshire, according to British standards for storing archival materials.

For more information about how we collect, read our Corporate Archives policy.

What we have

Our archives collect and preserve both modern and historic records from the business in physical and digital format. It holds over 150,000 physical items and 25 terabytes of digital material dating from 1556 to the present day.

We collect records which document the principal business functions and actions of Transport for London and its predecessor companies such as:

  • Board and committee meetings
  • Standing orders
  • Corporate policies
  • Annual reports and accounts
  • Planning records
  • Patents
  • Safety records

And records of their interactions with London's citizens and with the physical and social environment including:

  • Station designs
  • Pre-World War II employment records
  • Consultation records

What we don't have

Objects. These are held by the London Transport Museum. The London Transport Museum also houses the poster collection and the principal image library.

We only collect records that have been created by TfL or our predecessor companies and we don't keep everything.

For over 100 years, the organisation didn't have an archivist and today we remain a small team. Our holdings can be a bit hit and miss as a result, but we're always looking for ways to fill gaps.

What's online and what's not

Our online catalogue is a database that includes descriptions of our physical and digital collections. This only has descriptions of the records, not digital copies of the records.

The digital collections is a portal that has images from digitised records. It also includes the ability to keyword search.

You can also view all the staff records and staff magazines, and some highlights from our physical collections. Some of our born digital records are available on this portal too, such as Metro Pages and Board minutes.

At the moment, the digital collections don't have all online catalogue descriptions. The plan is to incorporate them into the digital collections portal soon, so you'll only have to go to one site to find everything.

The process of preparing digital records to make them available takes time, but we'll continue to add exciting content to the portal, so please visit us regularly to discover more.

To see our physical items, you'll need to visit us.

How to contact us

Here are our contact details if you have questions or would like to submit your enquiry via email or post.

Email corporatearchives@tfl.gov.uk

TfL Corporate Archives
5 Endeavour Square
Stratford
London E20 1JN

We're also keen to expand our oral history archive. Especially on the early days of public transport, like using the Tube for sheltering during the Second World War and female members of staff.

If you know of anyone of interest who would like to tell their story, please get in touch.