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About us

Kingston Heritage Service is part of Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames Council. We operate across two sites: Kingston Museum and Kingston History Centre, as well as in borough wide partnership projects.

Our mission… ‘We aim to engage visitors and residents across the borough in activities focussed on local heritage, past and present. We work with communities to identify and celebrate what is uniquely special about our borough and its people, locales, traditions and institutions. We aim to build on this history while striving to discover, record and share the new stories occurring all around us.’

The Guildhall in Kingston

Kingston History Centre

Free Entry

Address: Guildhall, High Street, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1EU

Telephone: 020 8547 6738

  • At Kingston History Centre you can access the Borough Archive and local history collections which contain maps, photographs, films, sound recordings, building plans, newspapers, published material about the borough, records of local groups and businesses, historic and modern family records and much more. These are used by members of the public, local historians, genealogists, artists, performers, students, schools and colleges to research Kingston's past and present, people and places. 

    One of the most common reasons people visit us is to research their house or family history, a bit like A House Through Time or Who Do You Think You Are? Our History Centre team will welcome you into the space and point you in the right direction by telling you what relevant material we have available for your research. 

    We always have a community display in the foyer area for people to browse and learn about a variety of heritage aspects across the borough. 

    We run regular talks and events. Please take a look at our What's On section to find out more.

    We also have a small range of items available for purchase including postcards, cards, books, maps, etc. You can also buy digital high resolution images of many collection items. 

    If you can't visit us in person, we also offer a research service. 

  • Kingston History Centre is currently closed due to COVID-19.

    • Monday closed
    • Tuesday closed
    • Wednesday 10am–5pm
    • Thursday 10am–7pm
    • Friday 10am–5pm
    • Saturday 10am–5pm
    • Sunday closed
    • Closed bank holidays
  • Please note that this section will be updated ahead of reopening, to inform visitors about additional COVID-19 precautions you, our staff and volunteers will need to take before, during and after visiting. Do check this page ahead of your visit to see what’s changed.

    Anyone is welcome to view the archive or local history centre collections at the Kingston History Centre search room.

    How can I order specific items?

    We keep some of our most popular collections on site, more information is available on our collections pages. However, a large part of our collection is kept safe at a special off-site storage facility and will need to be ordered in advance by contacting us. Please note that it can take up to two weeks to arrive, and we will let you know when your order is ready.

    What can you bring into the searchroom with you?

    To help preserve the collections no food, drinks, pens, sharp objects, coats or bags are allowed in the Search Room. On arriving you will need to put personal belongings into a locker. 

    In the search room you will be able to bring in:

    • mobile phone 
    • laptop or tablet (and relevant chargers)
    • camera
    • pencils 
    • notebook
    • money/small purse/wallet
    • headphones 

    You will then need to sign in using our registration form. A member of staff can help you with this, if needed.

    Can I take photos?

    You will need to either pay per image taken or for a photography day pass. The staff member on the desk can arrange this for you on the day. However, please note you will need to bring cash with you as we are currently unable to take card payments.

    You can use your hand-held camera, phone, tablet or laptop to take still images of documents. Flash photography is not permitted. Throughout your visit, you will need to complete a form which records the items you have taken images of, information about permissions, purpose of image taken, etc. Alternatively, at a cost we can provide you with low or high resolution images.

    Copyright applies to all records. Please ask a member of staff for details.

    What do you sell?

    We have postcards, books and maps relating to the area on sale. Please bring cash if you wish to purchase any items from our History Centre. There is also a larger selection of gifts and other items in the shop at Kingston Museum. 
     

    • Kingston History Centre is based in Court One of the former Kingston Magistrates Court at Kingston Guildhall (the round building).
    • If you are facing the Guildhall main entrance, follow the curved building round to the right. Go past the registration entrance and the next entrance at the back of the building on the left will be the History Centre.
    • There is a blue flag outside when we are open. 

    Walking and cycling

    • Kingston History Centre is a 10 minute walk from Kingston Station and a 20 minute walk from Surbiton Station 
    • bike parking is available on site, and the site is accessible via cycle paths

    Buses

    • catch the K1, K4, 85, 371, 458, 465, 513, 514, 515 or 715 to Guildhall Rose Theatre opposite the Guildhall, and access the History Centre on foot 
    • catch the K2, K3, 71, 281, 406, 418, 514, 515 or 671 to Kingston Crown Court / Kingston College, and access Kingston History Centre on foot via Kingston Hall Road
    • level access into the building
    • chairs are available in the foyer area
    • four steps to the Local History Library – platform lift available
    • wheelchair accessible toilet available
    • please contact us ahead of your visit if you require on-site parking due to accessibility needs
    • Please note, Kingston History Centre is a listed building and has very heavy internal and external doors with twist handles. We apologise for this and are working on ways to overcome these barriers. In the meantime, please do call in advance if you would like to be met outside. Or you can press the buzzer in the foyer area on the right hand door if you need assistance. 
  • Kingston History Centre is currently closed due to COVID-19 and is not accepting hire requests. 

  • We aren’t currently facilitating group visits. Check back here soon for more information. 

The exterior of Kingston Museum

Kingston Museum

Free Entry

Address: Wheatfield Way, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2PS

Telephone: 020 8547 6440

  • Kingston Museum is a small but buzzing museum. There is always something to do for all ages such as wandering around displays and exhibitions or taking part in talks, workshops, trails and events. See our What’s On tab for more information. 

    The displays and collections answer some of life's big questions. Have you ever wondered how stop-motion animation and film projection were created? Who was the first King of England? Why is Kingston called the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames? Why has Kingston been, and continues to be, a great place to shop throughout history? Why is there a dog on the HMV logo? All these answers are covered at Kingston Museum through our collections. 

    The Museum, which was custom built in 1904, has three permanent exhibitions: Ancient Origins, Town of Kings and Eadweard Muybridge, local pioneer photographer. A varied programme of exhibitions can be enjoyed in the Art Gallery. See our What's On page for our full programme.

    There is also a shop, which contains a wonderful selection of bespoke gifts that are connected to Kingston, including cards, books and prints linked to the local area and gifts made by local artists. 
     

     

  • Kingston Museum is currently closed due to COVID-19.

    • Monday closed
    • Tuesday 10am–5pm
    • Wednesday closed
    • Thursday 10am–7pm
    • Friday 10am–5pm
    • Saturday 10am–5pm
    • Sunday closed
    • Closed bank holidays
  • Please note that this section will be updated ahead of reopening to inform visitors about additional COVID-19 precautions you, our staff and volunteers will need to take before, during and after visiting. Do check this page ahead of your visit to see what’s changed.

    Anyone is welcome to view the permanent displays, community case and temporary exhibitions. 

    Like most museums and galleries, we have a proportion of the collection on display, which is rotated with items stored at a special off-site storage facility. If you are interested in seeing a particular item from the collection, please do contact us in advance of your visit.

    Please do get in touch if you are interested in reproducing images of any items in our collections or spaces. 

  • Walking and cycling

    • the Museum is accessible on foot via Wheatfied Way 
    • there is car access from Fairfield Road, but there is currently no car park available at Kingston Museum
    • Kingston Museum is a 5 minute walk from Kingston Station and a 25 minute walk from Surbiton Station
    • bike parking is available on site, and the site is accessible via cycle paths

    Buses

    • catch the K1 or K4 to Fairfield South, and access the museum on foot via Fairfield Way
    • catch the 57, 131, 213 or K5 to Fairfield Bus Station, and access the museum on foot via Wheatfield Way
    • catch the K1, K2, K3, K4, 57, 65, 71, 85, 281, 406, 418, 458, 465, 513, 514 ,515, 671 or 715 to Eden Street, and access the museum on foot via Adam's Walk and Wheatfield Way
    • there is a bell to the right of the front entrance if you need assistance with the doors
    • level access into the building
    • level access to Muybridge Gallery available using platform lift or through Kingston Library
    • first floor accessible by lift
    • wheelchair accessible toilet on the ground floor
    • large font captions on temporary displays
    • During Kingfisher's closure, we are unable to offer on-site parking. Please contact us for information about alternative parking.
  • Kingston Museum is currently closed due to COVID-19 and is not accepting hire requests. 

  • We aren’t currently facilitating group visits. Check back here soon for more information.