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Search Tips

Searching

We recommend starting with simple, clear and concise search terms. If you’re interested in images of Hackney, just type the word Hackney into the search box. Note that as you type, Collage will make suggestions (after three characters) and present them in a list; both individual image captions and subjects. You can click on one of these, or just click the search button.

In some cases you may not find the image you’re looking for with the most obvious search term. In these circumstances, thinking around your chosen theme always helps. For example, St Paul’s Cathedral appears in a lot of images, but may not always be listed in the description if it was considered a ‘background’ feature when the image was catalogued. Searching for images of the streets around the Cathedral, or even images of the Thames near Blackfriars is likely to produce more relevant results.

You can build up more complex searches by using Advanced Search (see below).

Search Results – Refining

When you view your search results, you will see the ‘Refine this Search’ tools in the top left area of the page. The tools provide a number of ways to reduce the number of search results you received.

Keywords: Adding a further keyword here allows you to be more specific. For example, if you searched for ‘Clerkenwell Green’, but decide that you’re primarily interested in the Sessions House on Clerkenwell Green, simply add the word ‘Sessions’ and click Search.

Works completed after / but before: You can add dates to these fields to limit your search results to a specific time period. It’s important to note that a Collage image date is the date when the image was created, not the date of the subject or scene it represents. That’s not a problem if you’re looking for a photograph of a street from the 1960s. However, if you're looking for images of London theatres in William Shakespeare’s day, don't limit your searches to 1570 - 1620! The majority of images of the theatres were created at a later date (many in the nineteenth century).

Subject: You can select a subject here to limit your search results to a particular theme, place, person or event. The field will make suggestions after you have typed three characters. The field is a pick list, so you can only make a selection from the options which are presented. This field can be really useful if you want to restrict your results to a particular London Borough or one of the former Metropolitan Boroughs. For example, if you searched for ‘Park’, but decide that you only want to see parks in the Greenwich area, type ‘Greenwich, London Borough of’ in the Subject field. Click on the option that appears and then Search. To get the most from this field, it helps to have some familiarity with our full set of subject terms and you can view these on our Advanced Search page.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for using the subjects, please try searching without them as there may be a number of relevant images which do not have a full set of subject tags.

Collection: Use this filter to limit the results to one particular Collage collection. For example, if you just want to see vintage Tramways Posters which relate to the subject you searched for; select LCC Tramways from the drop down list.

Originator: You can use this field to limit your results to a specific artist, engraver or publisher. Start typing a surname or forename and the field will provide you with a list of suggestions. As you type, the list of possible Originators will get shorter.

Exclude Keywords: Adding a keyword to this field allows you to remove images which include that keyword from your search results. For example, if your initial search was ‘Clerkenwell Green’ and you decide that you definitely don’t want to see images which include the Sessions House, type ‘Sessions’ and click Search.

Format: If you want to see only a particular format of images such as photographs, prints or films, use the Format filter. Click on the arrow, click on an option from the list and then click Search.

Section: If you only want to include images from either London Metropolitan Archives, or Guildhall Art Gallery, click on the arrow, click on an option from the list and then click Search.

Wildcard Searches

You can use the * character (asterisk) as a wildcard in your search terms. For example:

Black (finds all instances of the word Black)

Black* (finds all instances of Black and words which start with Black – e.g. Blackfriars, Blackwall)

If you’re not sure about the spelling of a place, building or artist, the * character can provide a useful way of making sure that you find what you’re looking for. For example, if you were unsure of the spelling of De Beauvoir Square, you could search for De B*.

Advanced Search

The Advanced Search page allows you to build up complex searches, applying a number of conditions which are explained below. All of the fields are optional, you can use as few or as many as you wish.

Enter a Word, Phrase or Number: Enter your search terms here and, if you wish, select one of the options below to tell Collage how to use your search terms.

Select a Collection: Use this filter to limit the results to one particular Collage collection. For example, if you just want to see vintage Tramways Posters which relate to the subject you searched for; select LCC Tramways from the drop down list.

Set Dates: You can add dates to these fields to limit your search results to a specific time period. It’s important to note that a Collage image date is the date when the image was created, not the date of the subject or scene it represents. That’s not a problem if you’re looking for a photograph of a street from the 1960s. However, if you're looking for images of London theatres in William Shakespeare’s day, don't limit your searches to 1570 - 1620! The majority of images of the theatres were created at a later date (many in the nineteenth century).

Select a Subject (People, Places, Historical Events etc.): Subjects provide an easy way to find images of events, people and themes. Our subject list is presented as a hierarchy and more options will display when you make a selection. Most of the categories have three levels, for example; History (level 1) - Military Events (level 2) - World War One (level 3). You can select one subject at a time from any level, so if you want to use ‘History’ to create a Subject search, you can. The Places category can be very useful as it allows you to limit searches to a London Borough (or a former Metropolitan Borough) and you can even specify a particular street.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for using the subjects, please try searching without them as there may be relevant images which do not have a full set of subject tags.

Name of Originator (Artist, Engraver and/or Publisher): You can use this field to limit your results to a specific artist, engraver or publisher. Start typing a surname or forename and the field will provide you with a list of suggestions. As you type, the list of possible originators will get shorter.

Select Picture Formats: These three fields allow you to search for very specific image types. You can use just one or any combination of them. Picture Type provides access to our full list of formats. It’s a helpful tool if you’re looking for a specific type of image such as a satire. Picture Medium provides an extensive list of types of media to choose from, including oil, photograph and woodcut. Picture Support allows you to define the material that the image was made on, for example canvas, paper or glass.

If you want to apply a more general format grouping to your search results, we recommend that you don’t use these fields, but instead make your search then use the Format filter which appears within the Refine this Search tools on your Search Results page.

Search by Number: The three fields available here allow you to enter a reference number for one of our images which you may have found in a publication or one of the exhibition guides at London Metropolitan Archives. You can also enter Collage Numbers into the main Search box on any page. Entries added to the LMA Catalogue Number and Gallery Accession Number fields must exactly match an entry in our database. This can be tricky, so if you don’t find what you need using this method, we recommend that you try a search for the image using other information.

Include images from: Tick the boxes to specify whether you want to include images from London Metropolitan Archives and/or Guildhall Art Gallery. If you don’t tick anything, both will be included by default.

Finding Photographs of a London School

Collage includes thousands of photographs of London schools from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s . In most cases, you should be able to find images by searching for the name of the school. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, it may be helpful to find out whether the school changed its name at any point, or whether it merged with another school. If that fails, try searching for images of the road that the school is (or was) located on. You may find that the school building appears prominently in a general view of the street.

Finding Images of a Building or Street

If you can’t find images of a particular building, try searching for images of the road that the building is (or was) located on. You may find that the building appears prominently in a general view of the street. Did the name of the building (or road that is located in) change over time? It’s possible that images of the building may appear on Collage listed under a former name. Sometimes a little general research can be very helpful in building up a history of name changes. The online Survey of London, which is available via the British History Online website, provides an excellent and in-depth history of many areas of London.

We recommend that you search without building numbers as these can limit your results and may prevent you from finding the image you’re looking for.

Find Similar Images

The ‘Subject’ field at the bottom of each image page lists all of the Collage subjects that we have tagged to the image. Clicking on ‘Find similar images’ will run a search for all of the listed subjects (with the exception of London Boroughs and Metropolitan Boroughs).

Browse by Subject

The Browse by Subject lists on our home page provide instant access to the second level of our subject hierarchy, allowing you to immediately see images relating to themes such as eating and drinking, or images of men or women. Only a small number of our subjects are presented here, for the full list please head to our Advanced Search page. It’s also useful to note that not all of the images on Collage are fully subject tagged at this time. If you can’t find what you’re looking for using the Browse by Subject, please use the Search or Advanced Search features.

Collections

Our Collections page presents our images in the groups, or collections, within which they are managed at London Metropolitan Archives or Guildhall Art Gallery. Collections are often created by one originator, whether an individual artist or photographer, or an organisation such as the London County Council. Viewing the Collections is often a good way to see closely related images (whether in terms of content or format) presented together.

Galleries

Our Galleries present images in groups curated by our teams at London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Art Gallery. Each gallery is composed around a theme, which can be a period of history, an image format or painting genre, or a famous Londoner. As the galleries are curated, they do not necessarily include all of the images which relate to the given subject. If you want to be certain that you’ve seen everything we have for ‘Tudor London’, for example, we recommend that you also try searching with relevant keywords and subjects.

The London Picture Map

The London Picture Map allows you to browse our collections geographically and it's a great way to discover images of a particular street or building. To make the map as user friendly as possible, not all of our images have been added to it. If you don't find what you're looking for on the map, please use the Search or Advanced Search features.

Film Clips

The film clips (link to Film Collection, a collection page) which appear on Collage are taken from the film collection at London Metropolitan Archives. We have ‘clipped’ them for use here, presenting them as short segments which relate to a particular place or subject. You can view full versions of most of the films here.

Originators, People and Places

Subject listings for originators (artists, engravers and publishers, people and places are available through our Advanced Search page.