Reference NumberP/COV
TitleCOVID-19 Collection of 'Life During Lockdown' and 'Making History: documenting coronavirus in the East End'
DescriptionThis is a collective archive of digital photographs, poetry and diaries of residents and workers in Tower Hamlets. Included are photographs taken by volunteers and staff of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives in a personal capacity.

Images includes street scenes, signs and graffiti, health workers, empty public spaces, green spaces including parks and activities at home
Extent166 digital items (662 MB) (collection is accruing)
AdminHistoryThis project was initiated and managed by Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, with the aim to document the impact of the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures on local residents and organisations based in the borough. The project had two collecting strands:

- 'Life During Lockdown: COVID-19' collecting volunteer project. This volunteer project built up a visual record of life in the borough during lockdown by taking photographs of locations in the borough taken by local residents or organisations.

- 'Making History: documenting coronavirus in the East End' survey. This survey was deisgned to allow individuals to upload digital files of their experiences during lockdown and also answering optional questions reflecting on how life has been changed and shaped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives and Tower Hamlets Council would like to thank everyone who has contributed their items. We welcome further additions to the collection. Contact us:
RelatedMaterialMany heritage organisations have done similar projects to collect records during the Coronavirus pandemic. These include:
- Hammersmith & Fulham Local Studies and Archives Centre:
- Harrow Local History Collection & Archive:
- Museum of London:
- Postal Museum:
- Wellcome Collection:

For further information see the Covid-19 Testimony Projects Database. Launched in June 2022, the database is hosted on the British Library's Covid-19 Collections Guide, which showcases the wide range of Covid-related material the Library has taken in. The database is listed under the heading 'British Library Covid-19 Testimony Projects Database' and can be downloaded as a spreadsheet.

See also Common Vision's 'Creativity, culture and connection: How has arts and culture helped communities stay connected during the pandemic?' Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives contributed to focus group sessions around their project. For more details see

In 2023 Common Vision with Creative United created Creative Community Engagement - a new 'Futures Playbook'. Funded by the Arts Council England, the 'Futures Playbook' publication contains examples of how creativity and culture has helped tackle loneliness, ill-health, poverty, discrimination, and digital exclusion in local communities since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. It shares learnings in five categories: creativity at home; connection online; digital accessibility; doorstep and outdoor settings; and community settings such as schools, hospitals and care homes:
COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns
Infectious diseases
Disease control
Health services
Social distancing
Access StatusOpen
RequestYES - You can order this material to consult in our Reading Room.
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