D193 Decorated initials (detail)

Reading room


The Gallery’s reading room and archive contain a wide range of specialist publications, rare books and manuscript material relating to William Morris, the Arts and Crafts Movement and the artist Frank Brangwyn.

We are working on a digital catalogue, some of which you can view through our collection pages. Whilst the work on the catalogue is in progress, the Gallery’s collection staff will be happy to advise on our holdings. 

Highlights from the archive include letters to family and friends, Morris & Co publicity materials, May Morris’s notes on embroidery, Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo’s unpublished ‘History of the Arts and Crafts Movement’, JW Mackail’s notebooks and a wide range of material relating to the designer-craftsman George Jack. In the case of very fragile items visitors may be asked to consult facsimiles.

The Gallery holds a full set of Kelmscott Press books, which can be consulted if not on display. We also hold copies of historic journals including The Studio magazine and a complete set of the Century Guild’s Hobby Horse. There is a comprehensive selection of books on Morris and a good range of more general publications on nineteenth-century decorative arts.  

A small selection of books for adults and children is available to view without appointment in the Discovery Lounge adjacent to the Tea Room.


Power sockets for laptops and wi-fi are available in the reading room. There are lockers to leave bags and personal belongings, including food and drink, which cannot be taken into the reading room. Mobile phones must be on silent mode. Please bring a pencil as we don’t allow pens in the reading room for preservation reasons.

Visitors may take photographs without flash for research purposes (to license images for reproduction please follow the link on the left to the Image library). Staff can photocopy non-fragile items subject to usual restrictions.

Book an appointment

Please allow at least two weeks notice for appointments to the Reading Room. Appointments are available Wednesday - Friday, 10am-5pm.

To book an appointment please email wmg.enquiries@walthamforest.gov.uk or call 020 8496 4390.