Picture Library

Cinema & Events


Venue Hire

Film Studio&Production

Contact Address




The Rotherhithe Picture Research Library was established in 1975 as a reference collection, freely available to anyone wishing to do picture research for any reason whatsoever. Whereas most other picture libraries are of a commercial nature, this one is a non-profit-making educational trust.

Many picture libraries are arranged in a way which prevents the researcher from having direct access to the collections.  At the Rotherhithe Picture Research Library researchers are given the freedom to find their own material from volumes on open display, allowing unexpected discovery as well as quick and easy reference.

The usefulness of the Library depends on the accessibility, variety and range of subjects, rather than on the rarity of the material. In addition to its services to designers and picture researchers, the Library offers special provisions for receiving class visits, as well as for the individual child or student wishing to find reference material for project work and/or private study.

This system enables any member of the public, including children, to use the volumes without the need for an expert’s knowledge of indexing or cataloguing.  These volumes are large “scrapbooks” arranged by subject, into which are mounted every kind of visual reference material, from postcards to magazine illustrations, from catalogue and book plates to original photographs, drawings or prints.



ADVERTISING/PACKAGING: Arranged by subject and date.

ALLEGORY: Arranged by subject.

ARCHITECTURE: Including Domestic Buildings, Public Buildings, Places of Worship etc.

COSTUME: Arranged by date and country; Special sections on Church, Military etc.

DOMESTIC UTENSILS: Arranged by subject and date.

FURNITURE: Arranged by subject and date.

GRAPHICS: Including Calligraphy, Maps, Illustrations etc.

NATURE: Biological and Topographical sections.

SIGNS AND INSIGNIA: Including Flags, Heraldry, Medals etc.

SOCIETY: Ceremonial, Domestic, Political, Religious and  Social sections, by date.

SPORTS AND FACILITIES: Including Children’s Games, Trophies etc.

TEXTILES: Including Embroideries, Lace, Printed Fabrics.

THEATRE: Including Ballet, Films, Opera etc.

TRADES AND OCCUPATIONS: Arranged by subject and date.

TRANSPORT: Arranged by subject and date.

WAR: Including Propaganda, Vehicles, Weapons etc.

In addition to the above a whole section of the collection is about local history.

Special exhibitions are held regularly. It is advisable, but not necessary, to make an appointment for group visits.

The Library is open all year from Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and at weekend by appointment.

Call: 020 7231 2209 for further information.

The Library does not, in most cases, hold the copyright on its material, which is intended only for reference but can advise its users on copyright clearance if required.

*The library has access to a quality color laser copier, a nominal charge is made for copies.

The Rotherhithe Picture Research Library is a non-profit-making educational trust inspired by the Picture Library of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.