The GLIAS Database

About The GLIAS Database

Welcome to the GLIAS Database web pages. Their aim is to give general information about the database itself. Use the buttons on the left of the screen to view the other web pages.

You can see which sites are included in the database by clicking View Records in the list on the left. We haven't been able to include full database records but in most cases you'll be able to see the site's name, address and grid reference. If you're interested in a particular site, this will tell you whether or not we have a database entry for it. We're aware that there are many gaps in our database and would like to hear about any sites that you think should be added.

You can view a selection of images taken for the database by clicking View Images in the list on the left. These were taken in Stratford, East London, in 2005 & 2006.

Members of GLIAS are working on the database correcting, updating and adding information. If you are a GLIAS member and would like a copy please email us at for further information. We will shortly be adding information about blank versions of the database which may be used by other societies.

Introducing the GLIAS Database

The GLIAS database is a sophisticated tool for finding and recording information about sites in Greater London. It is actually five interlinked databases, designed to feel like one. These databases are : Sites, Images, Articles, Glossary/Biography and Websites.

Once you find a site you can read any information, view relevant articles from the GLIAS newsletter, look up unfamiliar terms or people and find links to relevant websites. You can also use the Grid Reference Search to ‘travel’ London, discovering sites as you go.

The History of the Database

In about 1991 the Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA) was funded to develop a national standardised format for collecting industrial archaeology data. The result was the IRIS (Index Record for Industrial Sites) booklet and forms, published in 1993. These provided a format and terminology for describing industrial sites and artefacts.

In 1998, GLIAS began development of a database which the society could use to record site information. The intention was to make the database compatible with the IRIS data standard, and the first version was essentially an electronic IRIS form. An early version was demonstrated in a GLIAS Recording Group lecture, and a fuller version was demonstrated at the 1999 AIA conference. This was very favourably received and the database has been in development ever since. GLIAS went back to the 2002 AIA Conference to collect the AIA’s 2002 Recording Award, as recognition of the society’s achievement.

Features included in the GLIAS Database :

Using the GLIAS Database

As mentioned in the introduction, the GLIAS Database is several databases rolled into one. The five main databases are : Sites, Images, Articles, Glossary/Biography and Websites. They are all linked so it feels more like using one large database than several small ones. Once you have found a particular site you can read the information about it, view any images there may be of it, look at any relevant articles from recent issues of the GLIAS newsletter, and visit any relevant websites. You can also look up unfamiliar terms and view biographical details of people and companies mentioned in the text.

You can search the databases individually or all at once. There are tools to make searching for information quick and straight forward. Once you have found the sites you are interested in you can ‘bookmark’ them so you can return to them later on. You can even store sets of bookmarked records so you can call them up at any time (e.g. “Docks in Tower Hamlets” or “My favourite pillar boxes”).

The Grid Reference search enables you to find sites in a particular area. For example, you can select an area 1km square and list all the sites it contains. The sites’ positions can be displayed graphically too, as dots on the screen, and you can click the dots to view more information. At the click of a button you can move to a neighbouring square, so the database can take you on a virtual tour of London.

The database manual takes you step by step through the database in a series of tutorials. It explains both the basic and advanced features, enabling everyone to use the database to its full potential. The manual is provided as an Acrobat (PDF) file on the CD. Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader is also provided.

Synchronising Databases

A key feature of the GLIAS database is the ability to synchronise all copies of the database, even though they are not linked to a network. Individual users each have their own copy which they can use to add records, annotate existing ones and create links between databases. Users then send their new records, annotations and links to the Administrator, who loads them all into the Master Database. The administrator then creates a set of update files which are distributed to all users.

Programming and Development of the Database

The database was designed from scratch using FileMaker Pro Developer Edition software. This means that the GLIAS Database can run on computers without FileMaker Pro installed. Filemaker Pro is an established database package on both Windows and Macintosh platforms.

Database Requirements

The database has been successfully run on computers running Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows NT4. When fully installed it requires just over 40MB of hard disk space, including the image files. The database can be installed with or without the images. It is also possible to install or uninstall the images at any time. The database is designed to be displayed on colour screens set to display at least 800 x 600 pixels. To date only the Windows version has been requested, however a Mac version can be made available if required. A Macintosh version would run on OS 8 or OS 9. It would run in OS X in Classic mode.

Database Credits

The GLIAS Database has been designed, programmed and developed by Chris Grabham. Members of the GLIAS, particularly members of the GLIAS Recording Group have worked on the data, collecting, transcribing, checking and editing it. They have also provided images for the Images database. The people most heavily involved in this work are : Sue Hayton, Dan Hayton, David Perrett, Fiona Morton & Chris Grabham.