Local Studies

A comprehensive collection of information relating to the history of Buckinghamshire, the Milton Keynes Council area and Milton Keynes New Town.

The Local Studies Department is located at Central Library. 


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 Ancient Tree Inventory

Ancient oak tree

The Woodland Trust has released an interactive map which shows the locations of the UK's oldest trees. The Ancient Tree Inventory can help you find the UK's oldest trees by location, by tree species and by status.
On the map each tree's marker includes an 'A', 'V' or 'N' to indicate if the tree is of ancient, veteran or notable status. Ancient trees are those that are in the third and final stages of their life. The age of this final stage varies for different species of trees, as some species live longer than others. Oaks, yews and sweet chestnuts can live to over a 1,000 years old. Veteran trees are old trees which haven't quite reached ancient status. Notable trees are usually mature large trees which for some reason stand out in their local environment. 
Anyone can add ancient, veteran or notable trees to the Ancient Tree Inventory. The Woodland Trust has a recording guide which provides instructions on how to measure a tree and how to record different tree forms.

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Local History Books

Local studies books about MK

The Local Studies Library has a comprehensive collection of books relating to Buckinghamshire, the Milton Keynes Council area and Milton Keynes New Town.

The Milton Keynes designated area is particularly well documented with information ranging from business directories, population, ecological studies, planning, architecture, education, history, archaeology and industry.

You can search our local history book collection using our online library catalogue.

The books are arranged by a local classification scheme unique to Buckinghamshire. There are place and subject indexes to help you find your way around.

Loan copies of local history books are shelved in the Local Studies Library and can be borrowed from there.

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Electoral Registers

Voters Lists:

Registers of Parliamentary electors were introduced by the 1832 Reform Act. A voter’s name must be on them in order to cast a vote.

Registers have been compiled annually since 1832. For 1916–17, 1940–44 (including the World Wars), 1919–1926 and 1945–1949 the registers were compiled twice a year.

All registers list the name (usually surname, first name and initials) of the voter and an address.

Until 1918, the registers included the qualification that entitled the person to vote, details of their current residence and the address of property owned in the constituency or polling district.

Following the 1918 Representation of the People Act it stated that, wherever possible, the register should be published in street order with no surname index.

From 1928–1970 the abbreviation 'Y' was used to denote someone who would reach the age of 21 during the first half of the year in which the register was in force. After 1970, the date of birth is given for anyone approaching the age of 18.

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Viewing the current edition of the Milton Keynes Electoral Register:

You can consult the current open version of the Milton Keynes electoral register at Central Library.

The open version does not contain all the electors in Milton Keynes as any elector can request that their personal details be kept private and consequently will not be listed in this open version.

If you wish to consult the full version of the current electoral register please contact Milton Keynes Council Electoral Services.

Viewing the current edition of the Electoral Register for other areas of the UK:

If you want to look at the current electoral register for other areas of the UK, the following websites allow you to search the open electoral register for the whole of the UK (there may be a charge to look at the information):

If you wish to look at the full electoral register for any area of the UK, you will need to contact the electoral services department of that local council for details of access arrangements.

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Viewing previous editions of the Milton Keynes Electoral Register:

The Family History Library keeps an archive of electoral registers for Milton Keynes:

  • full registers from 1984 to 2005
  • open electoral registers from 2006 - 2012

Electoral registers for the area dating from before 1984 are held at the Buckinghamshire Archives in Aylesbury.

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Local Plan for Milton Keynes

The Local Studies Library has the original two volume document setting out the designated area for the new city in 1967 by the Development Corporation. Copies are available for loan.

Other documentation from the Development Corporation was passed to the City Discovery Centre when the Development Corporation closed down in 1992.

Milton Keynes Council's current Local Plan for improvements and changes to Milton Keynes is available to view through the Council's Planning Policy web page along with further information about development plans for Milton Keynes. You can also see a print copy of the Local Plan in the Local Studies Library.

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Map Collection

Map showing Milton Keynes

The map collection held in the Local Studies Library consists mainly of Ordnance Survey maps dating from the 1880s onwards. They vary in scale from 1 inch to the mile to 1:1250 (around 50 inches to the mile) and cover the modern urban area of Milton Keynes.

A few historic hand drawn maps of the older parishes within the 'designated area' of Milton Keynes can be viewed on request. To check what maps we hold for particular areas, please see our indexes:

Colman Map Collection

A collection of historic county maps dating from the 16th century to the late 19th century. These maps can be viewed by special arrangement with the Local Studies Library.

Photocopying Maps

Any photocopying of maps in the Local Studies Library must comply with the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988. Please see our photocopying facilities page for details of what you are permitted to copy.

Ordnance Survey Maps

Books about local maps available in the Local Studies Library

  • 'Maps of Bucks' by Gordon Wyatt
  • 'County Maps and Historic Buckinghamshire' by Valerie G Scott & Eve McLaughlin

Useful Map Websites

Buckinghamshire Archives is based in Aylesbury and holds a large and varied collection of maps for Buckinghamshire.

Maps of the UK and the Rest of the World

Maps covering the rest of the UK and the world are available in the Reference Library at the Central Library.

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Local Newspapers available at Milton Keynes Libraries

Most of our local MK newspaper collection is on microfilm.

Microfiche machine

If you are making a special journey to use the newspapers on microfilm we recommend that you contact us in advance to book a microfilm reader by phoning the Local Studies Library on 01908 254051.

Our local newspapers are not indexed so, if you are looking for a particular event, it helps to have a good idea of the month and year before beginning your search.

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You can view a list of the Local Newspapers held (PDF, 251KB) in Milton Keynes Libraries.

Online archive of local news:

The MK Citizen has an archive of local news dating back to 2000.

Local newspapers for Buckinghamshire:

These are held at the Buckinghamshire Archives at Aylesbury.

Local newspapers for the rest of the UK:

​These can be accessed either by region or by an A to Z listing by title:

Local Newspaper Cuttings:

From 1981 onwards, all the local newspapers have been scanned to create a newspaper cuttings collection of items relating to North Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.

The subject areas include people, architecture, politics, arts, local government, health, social issues and leisure.  You can search the Index of Local Studies Cuttings (PDF, 257KB).

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Photograph collection for the Milton Keynes area

The Local Studies Library has a small collection of photographs of local villages and scenes of the Milton Keynes area.

Shelves full of historical photos

The Bletchley Community Heritage Initiative holds a large database of local photographs and prints are available for a charge.

Buckinghamshire Archives has a collection of over 20,000 photographs of old Buckinghamshire, which can be viewed online and prints are available for a charge.

Please note: Photographs are subject to copyright covering the life of the photographer plus 70 years after their death.

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Statistics Available at Milton Keynes Central Library

Milton Keynes Statistics

The Reference Library has a statistics collection covering a wide range of topics. Most of the statistics concentrate on the UK, but we also have some on the European Union and other countries.

  • Milton Keynes Council Statistics - Statistics for the area of Milton Keynes including data on population, 2001 census and unemployment.

  • MK Insight - A one-stop-shop for information about Milton Keynes and the surrounding area, including statistics.

  • The Local Studies Department holds a collection of historical statistics for the Milton Keynes area, covering population, crime, employment and general facts and figures.

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UK National Statistics

  • Visit the official UK statistics website.  Many publications are available on the site free of charge.

EU and International Statistics

  • Official Statistics on the Web - This gateway is a quick way to locate statistics on the internet. You can search by country, region and topic.
  • Nationmaster - This is a massive central data source and a handy way to geographically compare nations.
  • Eurostat - Official European Union statistics website. It provides extensive information on EU statistics, industries and markets.
  • OECD - The OECD is a group of 30 member countries sharing a commitment to democratic government and the market economy. Best known for its publications and its statistics, its work covers economic and social issues from macroeconomics, to trade, education, development and science and innovation.
  • United Nations Statistics Division - A list of links to National Statistics offices for countries worldwide.

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Trade Directories

Trade Directories can be a useful resource for Family History research as they list the names of individuals and where they lived. The Directories often also have a prefatory chapter on the history and geography of the area, and a list of people holding official positions.

Directories held at the Local Studies and Family History Library:

  • Pigot’s and Kelly’s Directories for Buckinghamshire from 1830 to 1939.
  • The library also holds more recent Business Directories for Milton Keynes - Search the Library Catalogue for more details.
  • BT Telephone Directories and Yellow Pages directories for the Milton Keynes area are available in the library from 1976 onwards.
  • You can view the current edition of the Yellow Pages online.

Trade Directories for the rest of the UK:

Historical Directories is a digital library of local and Trade Directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919. It contains high quality reproductions of comparatively rare directories - essential tools for research into local and genealogical history.

The Ancestry website can be viewed free of charge in all Milton Keynes Libraries (through the eLibrary page) and contains a number of digitised UK Trade Directories.

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Websites about the history of Milton Keynes

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Last Updated: 18 May 2022