Geoffrey Fletcher collection

Scope and Content

The collection primarily contains sketchbooks and materials related to Fletcher's publications.

The 15 sketchbooks cover 1943-1972 and contain mostly pen and ink drawings. The first volume was produced by Fletcher during 'pre-Slade' sketching tours in the Lake District, Cheshire and Lancashire in 1943-1944 and the final volume covers a tour of Italy in 1972. The other volumes feature mainly London scenes, although other locations in England and abroad are also depicted, and many include Fletcher's notes on the buildings illustrated.

Items concerning Fletcher's publications include four book typescripts (c1962-1969) and copies of his Daily Telegraph drawing and painting guides and folios of drawings (c1966-c1978); also a sketching course produced by Fletcher for Pitman Correspondence College (1970) . In addition, there are two volumes of cuttings of Fletcher's drawings and articles from newspapers including The Manchester Guardian, The Rochdale Observer and The Church of England Newspaper (mainly 1950-1953) and The Daily Telegraph (mainly 1971-1972).

Other material includes photographs, including images of Fletcher at work and stills from the film 'The London Nobody Knows' (c1953-c1970); a Geoffrey Fletcher sketching kit (c1970); and a menu for Fletcher's eponymous restaurant at Selfridges Hotel (nd; opened 1973).

The collection also contains items collected by library staff, including further cuttings (mainly from The Daily Telegraph, 1964-1980) and material related to exhibitions of Fletcher's work (1963-2005).

Administrative / Biographical History

Geoffrey Fletcher (1923-2004) was an artist and author noted for his illustrations of London and especially for recording details and areas of the city not often documented.

Fletcher was born in Bolton on 3 April 1923 and died there on 22 June 2004. He studied at the Slade School of Art and also won a scholarship to study at the British School at Rome.

His work appeared in several British newspapers, beginning with the Manchester Guardian in 1950. In 1958, he began working for The Daily Telegraph and for 30 years he contributed drawings and articles to its 'London Day by Day' column, which was collectively written under the pseudonym 'Peterborough'. Fletcher was a keen advocate for conservation and his newspaper illustrations frequently highlighted Georgian and Victorian buildings marked for demolition during London's post-war redevelopment. He was particularly attracted to documenting the streets and buildings of Islington, which featured regularly in his work.

Fletcher's first book was 'Town's Eye View' (1960), an introduction to townscape. He wrote and illustrated 18 books about London and his most well known, 'The London Nobody Knows' (1962), was made into a documentary film in 1967. He also published a number of guides to drawing and painting.

Access Information

Open for consultation by appointment.

Acquisition Information

The majority of this material was donated to Islington Libraries by Geoffrey Fletcher during the 1970s. Other items, as identified, were collected by staff at Islington and Finsbury borough libraries.

Other Finding Aids

A box list for this material is available at Islington Local History Centre.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The loose newspaper cuttings in this collection have been photocopied onto archival quality paper and the original items have been discarded.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying is carried out at the discretion of staff, depending on the condition of the materials and according to the Local History Centre's photocopying policy, which is available on request. No photographs over 50 years old and no material over 100 years old may be copied. Copies of material still in copyright can be supplied for research use only. Written permission must be obtained from the archivist to publish or reproduce any material held in the Local History Centre. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearance from the copyright holder.

Custodial History

Most of the items collected by library staff were previously placed in other areas of the Local History Centre collections, including the book, pamphlet and news cuttings collections, but were transferred to this collection in 2011.


No further additions to this collection are expected.

Related Material

Islington Local History Centre also holds a collection of Geoffrey Fletcher artworks (mainly pen and ink sketches) as well as copies of his published works.