research guide to london metropolitan archives' collections

The Pensions Archive Trust was established in 2005 with the objective of founding and maintaining a Pensions Archive, to ensure that material relating to the management and development of occupational and personal pensions in the United Kingdom is preserved, for the benefit of both researchers and the pensions industry.

Since 2007 the Pensions Archive Trust has had a permanent home for its collections at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA). One of the attractions of establishing this partnership was the extensive business archives and other collections relating to the history of London held by LMA, which could include a wealth of pension-related material.

In order to understand the extent of this material, the Trust set up a project to survey LMA’s collections for material relating to pensions and the provision of other support in old age, launched in summer 2011. The project’s volunteer, Malcolm Deering, spent a year going through the descriptions of collections held in LMA’s catalogue and recording key information about relevant material. The survey uncovered a wealth of information which has now been put together into a Research Guide.

Please follow this link to access the sections of the Guide

The survey findings have been grouped into 12 main sections and a miscellaneous category. Each section begins with a brief introduction to the category of pension or provision, and then the records are listed alphabetically by collection title (or in a few instances by the title of the pension fund). The title is followed by a table which gives details of the relevant material within the collection, with covering dates and references. In some instances the whole collection or sections of a collection will be relevant, so individual item references are not included: these can be obtained from the LMA catalogue, which is available online. A brief introduction to the collection and its relevance to the survey may also be given under the entry’s heading.

The entries are based on descriptions from the LMA catalogue, in some instances supplemented by additional research or information gathered from the original material. Dates listed in the guide adhere to the following conventions: '18--' and '187-' for estimated centuries or decades, '1873?' for an estimated year and 'nd' where it has not been possible to date the material. Dates surrounded by square brackets are also estimates.

Where collections contain records relating to more than one category of the guide – for example, a charity which ran almshouses and provided charity pensions, or a company which provided pension and life assurance schemes – the records have generally been split and entered into the relevant sections of the guide. Cross references linking the entries are given underneath the table. Where it has not been possible to split the entries a note has been made in the introduction to the second category, directing the reader to the entry in the primary category.

It is important to note that some of the records covered in the survey are subject to access restrictions. This is particularly the case with staff or personnel records that contain personal data about individuals, which are subject to closures under the Data Protection Act. Some of these closures have been noted in the Guide, but researchers should also check the LMA catalogue before visiting. The catalogue will also indicate whether the material can be accessed at LMA or the Guildhall Library site.

If you would like to visit LMA to look at any of the material listed in this Guide, the reading rooms are open to the public from Monday to Thursday and one Saturday opening a month. Readers must register for a History Card to access original material. Further information for visitors, including opening hours, the online catalogue and information about the History Card, is available on the LMA website at

Further details and images of items relating to the following pensions schemes, based upon information gathered during the Research Guide project, are available elsewhere on the Pensions Archive Trust's website:


The Pensions Archive Trust would like to thank Malcolm Deering for his work on the Research Guide project: the Guide would not have been possible without his hard work.

Information in the introductions to entries in this Guide is largely gathered from the LMA catalogue, but where other sources have been used these are acknowledged with references.


The Pensions Archive Trust - Registered Charity No. 1122633    

Chairman - Jeff Highfield