GPM - Gunnersbury Park Museum Archive

Scope and Content

The most significant collection at Gunnersbury Museum Archives are the records of its own activities. These chart the whole history of the Park and Museum, from when it was purchased from the Rothschild family and came into public ownership in 1925, to the opening of the Museum in 1929 and into the present day. Earliest papers relate to its joint management by the Gunnersbury Park Joint Committee [GPJC] which still exists, but does not have the same operational control as in pre-War years. Today the Park and Museum are operated as a Community Investment Company, Gunnersbury Estate (2026) CIC, under joint ownership of Ealing and Hounslow Councils.

An extensive local studies collection has grown and includes:

Posters of Ealing Studios
Photographs of Ealing Studios' photographer, Roy Gough
Historic map collection of Middlesex
Records of local business eg Ealing Hygienic Laundry
Records of local families eg the Buckmasters
Historic photographs for the surrounding area
Exhibition photographs including the Dennis Morris exhibition, Southall - A Home from Home
Ealing Anti Apartheid Society
Ephemera including diaries, theatre programmes, building plans

Administrative / Biographical History

Gunnersbury Mansion in the Parish of Ealing is first recorded in the 13th century, when it was held by the Bishop of London. The Manor and surrounding parkland passed through the hands of several families before being acquired and extended by Princess Amelia, daughter of King George III. In 1835, Nathan Meyer Rothschild bought Gunnersbury Park and commissioned Sidney Smirke to extend the Mansion. Gunnersbury became the home, city-escape and entertainment space for the Rothschild Family for the next 90 years, during which they made significant alterations to the buildings and landscaped gardens, which became famous for it's collections of flowers and plants.

In 1917, tired perhaps of the upkeep the house required, or less in love with a home becoming fast encroached by urban sprawl, the Rothschilds put Gunnersbury up for sale. It was bought for public use jointly, by Acton and Ealing, and Middlesex County Council in 1925. Neville Chamberlain opened the Park in 1926, and a Museum utilising the Rothschilds' Large Mansion opened its doors in 1928. The Park has since been used by the public for golf, tennis and boating; has been home to anti-aircraft guns and is a haven for wildlife. An extensive HLF funded project to reinvigorate the Park and Museum is currently underway, an outcome of which has been to uncover and make available the Museum archives for public study and enjoyment.

Gunnersbury Park Museum's main and most significant archive is the records of its own activities and that of the wider Park through the Gunnersbury Park Joint Committee, which dates from the 1920s. GPM has been acquiring archive material from external sources since 1926, when the papers of Major Frederick Sadler formed part of the purchase of the foundation collection of the museum in what became known as the Sadler Collection. It has since acquired further archives, which are in the process of being catalogued, including: the Northolt Manor Excavation Archive; E H Brooks: Funeral Directors Archive; Brentford Baths and Wash Houses Archive; and an extensive collection of Presscuttings and small accessions that support museum exhibitions and/or local history.


From 1926, Gunnersbury Park and Museum was managed by the Gunnersbury Park Joint Committee (GPJC)
Categories of the Museum's own archive have been organised as followed, but have not yet been catalogued. When the catalogue has been completed, it will reflect this system of organisation:

Access Information

Gunnersbury Museum Archives is open by appointment only on Wednesday and Thursday. Please book your visit by contacting the Archivist,, so that we may locate any records of relevance to your research in advance.

ID, such as a passport or driving licence will be required to consult all archival documents.

All visitors will be required to conform to Searchroom Rules, e.g. no eating, drinking or use of ink in the Searchroom. This is to protect and preserve the unique documents that we have in our possession.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction for personal use or study is allowed.

Appraisal Information

To date, very little appraisal has taken place to the collection. This is not to say that everything has survived, but that much material has been added haphazardly, particuarly since the 1970s when record keeping appears to have become less of a priority.


Local history collections have been acquired since the Museum opened in 1929. Initially with the purchase by subscription of the Sadler Collection - local Antiquarian Frederick Sadler's personal collection of largely archaeological artefacts, notebooks and historic maps. This has been added to over the decades by purchase (historically) and gift. Most of the Archive has grown around the themes of the Museum's gallery spaces and past exhibitions, giving context to the locality's 'People and Place', 'Leisure', 'Fashion', 'Home' and 'Industry'.