German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: Tel. +44-(0)20-7309 2050



GHIL Library


The library of the GHIL is an important and well-regarded institution for British historians of German history, students at London universities, and the general public. Its holdings on German history, British-German relations from the Middle Ages to the present day, and wider European history are comprehensive, up to date, free to use, and form a unique collection in Britain.

Covid-19 safety measures

We recommend but do not require wearing a face covering when you are moving around the institute.

You must not visit the institute if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, or if you have recently tested positive for Covid-19.

Readers are encouraged to take a lateral flow test before they visit the library.

Visiting and joining the Library

Our opening hours are Monday to Friday (9.30am-5pm). 

New readers should book an appointment (email: for a virtual induction (offered via Zoom, Mondays 12pm and Wednesdays 4pm, or by arrangement) before their first visit, and register in person at reception on their first visit.

Library staff are available for general enquiries at If appropriate, we may offer you advice via a video call to our Virtual Enquiry Desk.

To ensure staff and visitor safety we will keep some hygiene measures in place. Please see our amended regulations for details.


Watch the following short presentation to find out more about the library: A (Very) Brief Introduction to the German Historical Institute Library


Featured Books

Over the summer and into early autumn, we will be presenting a series of featured books on history and photography. We are constantly surrounded by images but what do they say about the photographer - or the viewer?

Our second instalment features books on early photography. At a time when taking photographs was far more difficult than just pointing the camera and pressing a button, what was important to those taking the images? What did they wish to depict and how carefully did they choose their subjects?


Jens Jäger

Gesellschaft und Photographie. Formen und Funktionen der Photographie in Deutschland und England 1839-1860

Sozialwissenschaftliche Studien. H. 35

Opladen : Leske + Budrich, 1996


Markus Ritter and Staci G. Scheiwiller (eds.)

The indigenous lens? early photography in the Near and Middle East

Studies in theory and history of photography. 8

Berlin ; Boston, MA : De Gruyter, 2017

eBook ProQuest

Mirjam Brusius, Katrina Dean, and Chitra Ramalingam (eds.)

William Henry Fox Talbot : beyond photography

Studies in British Art. 23

New Haven, Conn. : Yale Centre for British Art ; London : The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2013


Hermann Glaser und Walther Pützstück

Ein deutsches Bilderbuch. 1870-1918. Die Gesellschaft einer Epoche in alten Photographien

Frankfurt/M. ; New York, N.Y. : Campus Verlag, 2009


Gordon Winter

A Country Camera. 1844-1914. Rural life as depicted in photographs from the early days of photography to the outbreak of the First World War

Harmondsworth : Penguin Books, 1973


Franz Hubmann ; edited by Andrew Wheatcroft

The Habsburg Empire : the world of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in original photographs 1840-1916

London : Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972



Library Catalogue

All of our books, journals and electronic resources can be found via our online catalogue.

Recently published books can be made available to readers very quickly, and we invite readers to suggest new acquisitions at


Library Collections

The GHIL Library's holdings comprise around 95,000 volumes, with a growing number of electronic resources. The collection's focus is largely on German history, with a special emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. Around a third of the library's resources are English-language materials.

Access and Services

The library is open to anyone with an interest in German history, British-German relations, or comparative historiography. The collection is reference only, so books cannot be taken out on loan.

There are no membership or joining fees but a passport photo and recent proof of address should be provided on the first visit so that a reader’s ticket can be issued (free of charge).

Contact and opening hours


German Historical Institute Library
17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ

Tel. +44-(0)20-7309 2050


Opening hours

Monday-Friday: 9.30am–5pm