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Greater London Historic Environment Record (GLHER)

Person holding pots found at a Romano-British roadside settlement
Finds from a Romano-British roadside settlement, Watling Street, Bexley

What is the Greater London Historic Environment Record?

The GLHER is a comprehensive and dynamic resource for the historic environment of Greater London. From the earliest human occupation to the present day, its data supports the work of the Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service. Our computerised record contains over 87,000 entries providing data on archaeological sites, historic buildings, historic parks and landscapes, finds and heritage features, and supporting sources of information.

Find out more about what data we hold.

How do I access the Greater London Historic Environment Record?

The GLHER is a public record, and we welcome enquires from anyone interested in the historic environment of Greater London.

Access to GLHER data takes two forms:

  • Remote searches that involve the supply of digital GLHER data.
  • HER visits, which involve a personal visit to the GLHER office.

Remote Searches

The GLHER aims to respond to all searches within seven working days. Where information is required sooner, for commercial enquiries, a Priority search can be requested with a response within two working days, although this will be charged at an additional cost.

For commercial searches a quote will be provided. This must be accepted, and our data licence signed before work can proceed.

All our data is supplied under a 12-month data licence, with users entitled to a 6-month data update on request.

HER Visits

You can consult the GLHER in person, 10am-4.30pm, Monday to Friday, at our office in Cannon Bridge House, 25 Dowgate Hill, above Cannon Street railway station. Space is limited, so please give as much notice as possible when making an appointment to visit.

The GLHER Online

An abridged version of the GLHER database is also available online at the Heritage Gateway along with over 50 other HERs across England, as well as the National Monuments Record Excavation Index, details of Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings and Registered Parks and Gardens.

The GLHER database is also available via the Archaeological Data Service: Archsearch webpages.

Please note, that we only update this twice a year, so information may not be current. For up-to-date information, contact the GLHER team.

Is there a charge for Greater London Historic Environment Record data?

Charges are made for licensing the commercial, for profit, re-use of HER information. Enquiries from the general public, and academic researchers are not charged, although the GLHER reserves the right to charge for research projects that request large amounts of HER data.

Non-priority search

All non-priority searches will be dealt with within seven working days.

Standard Search (up to 100 HER Monument Records) - £55
Extended Search (up to 200 HER Monument Records) - £80
Large Search (201 HER Monument Records +) - Individually priced

Priority search

Dealt with within 48 hours (working week only).

For Standard and Extended searches (up to 200 HER Monument Records) - £65 plus the Standard or Extended search charge. (i.e. Standard £120, Extended £145).

Large scale searches, over 201 Monument Records, may be processed as Priority searches, but this will be on a case by case basis dependent on the nature of the search request and GLHER resources available.

All charges are shown exclusive of VAT.

Following a data request an invoice will be sent out to the HER user by Historic England at the end of the month. Payments should be made within 30 days, and access to Historic England (chargeable) services may be suspended if payment is not made within this time.

**New charges: 1 January 2018**

From 1 January 2018 we will be changing our implementing a new charging policy. This change makes the GLHER part of Historic England's Enhanced Advisory Services and will better serve our customers and London's historic environment by providing an up to date search of information submitted to us. This will ensure that we are working in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004,and the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015, and bring us more in line with Historic England's Enhanced Advisory Service. It will also enable us to provide a better service for customers, and better serve London's historic environment.

More information on Enhanced Advisory Services

More information on the GLAAS Charter

From January there will be two levels of GLHER searches:

  • Standard
  • Enhanced Data Service

Standard Searches

GLHER data will be supplied in digital format accompanied by a licence to re-use as we currently do.  Additionally the GLHER team will also check data currency, and add information on activities (creating new HER 'Event' and 'Source' records) which GLAAS has been notified of but not yet added to the GLHER database; our grey literature report backlog.

The GLHER will respond to searches within 10 working days, although for large area searches, or search with many data records, a longer time frame may be needed.

Where data is required more quickly a Priority Search can be requested with a response within 2 working days, for an additional fee, although this will be dependent on GLHER staff availability.

Data will be supplied under a 12 month data licence with users entitled to, on request, a free 6 month data currency update check. If the data currency check identities that an updated search is necessary then that would be chargeable.

Enhanced Data Service

On top of the Standard search further enhancement of HER data can be requested to suite customer needs. This might include:

  • GIS mapping of archaeological excavation areas and borehole locations
  • Review and creation of monument records with a short report indicating current interpretations of undesignated heritage assets
  • Large area (>10km2) data agreements providing regular updates prioritised to customer needs.

This is a bespoke service which will be individually specified and costed.

Due to the nature of the work required for Enhanced Data Searches they cannot be undertaken as Priority searches.

HER Search Charges

As a public body we aim to cover the costs of these services. They are neither subsidised with taxpayers' money, nor make a profit.

All charges are on a full cost recovery (not-for-profit) basis including the full cost of staff time, including IT costs and administration time. The standard unit for charging purposes is 15 minutes with a minimum charge of one hour. A quote will be provided in each case and must be accepted, and our data licence signed, before work can proceed.

Average charges are likely to be in the range of £50- 200 (inc VAT), generally lower in the Outer London boroughs and increasing in the Inner London boroughs. (see the 2018 Greater London Historic Environment Record Access and Charging Policy).

The quote will be given as +/- 20% the estimated cost of the search.  Actual charges are only for the staff time spent on a particular piece of work plus overheads. If we have not heard from you within 5 working days then we will assume you do not wish to proceed with the search and our estimate will no longer be valid.

Priority Searches

Where information is required more quickly than our standard 10 day turnaround, a Priority Search can be requested with a response within two working days. This will be charged at an additional cost of £65 +VAT and is subject to staff availability.

We would welcome feedback on the changes and will review its operation after a 3 month trial period.

What radius do I need for my search area?

It is essential to obtain an up to date search on archaeological discoveries and activity for the site and its surroundings from the GLHER, and a licence for data use. It is the responsibility of the organisation undertaking a desk-based assessment to ensure that the search area is appropriate to the location and nature of the development.

Generally we would expect search areas in Inner London to extend 250m - 500m from the site and in Outer London 500m - 1000m. Discussion with the GLAAS case officer or GLHER can help ensure an appropriate search is run. Overly narrow search areas or arbitrary limits on the number of records returned should be avoided. 

Map of inner and outer London
GLHER Inner London area marked in purple

A search on other data bases, such as the Heritage Gateway, is not an acceptable substitute for a GLHER search and may constitute breach of copyright. The Heritage Gateway and the Archaeological Data Service: Archsearch however, may be used as a guide to what may be within your area of interest, and the likely cost for a data licence.

Find out more about the GLHER Access and Charging Policy.

What is the Greater London Historic Environment Record currently working on?

We are working on a number of projects, some of which our volunteers are carrying out for us. Current projects include:

  • Adding Locally Listed Buildings to our GLHER database,
  • Enhancing our parks and gardens records,
  • London workhouses,
  • First World War hospitals, and
  • Revising our Archaeological Priority Areas.

Volunteering with the Greater London Historic Environment Record

We have a number of opportunities for members of the public, or students to volunteer with the Historic Environment Record team. We provide full training and support so you don't need any previous experience, and you will play a critical role in helping to conserve London's historic environment.

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