L is for Local History

imagesHaving discussed Communities and Community History when I got to C, is there more I can say under L is for Local History? My introduction to local history was during ‘Liberal Studies’ in the sixth form. We had to spend a few hours a week doing different courses that were not examination related. This gave the staff a chance to share their expertise. Most of these courses have slipped from my memory but I know I did one about the origin of place names and another on local history. I don’t know how I arrived at the decision to study the history of a church that was two bus journeys away. I have no recollection of having visited before the advent of the course. Nonetheless I embarked upon compiling a history of St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Chaldon, Caterham. This church is famous for its twelfth century mural. On a recent visit to the haunts of my childhood I also renewed my acquaintance with Chaldon Church.

At this point my research never got me to a Record Office, I wasn’t aware of their existence at this stage. I did however spend time in a local studies library and from then I was hooked. I shall be discussing the importance of teachers when we get to T and there will be more about young people under Y but this does illustrate the benefits of the ‘catch ’em young’ policy.

When I started my local history career no one could have imagined the internet, or how our living rooms could become libraries or record repositories. Forty years on I am in a position to be able to share some of my favourite local history websites with people around the world, many of whom I shall never meet. I am deliberately not describing what these sites contain – that way you will look for yourselves!!

Society for One-Place Studies

The Family and Community History Research Society

British Association for Local History

Community Archives and Heritage Group

English Place Name Society

Local Population Studies Society

The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure 

Scottish Local History Forum

Local History Online

Urban History Resources Hub

The Centre for English Local History

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2 comments on “L is for Local History

  1. Birgit says:

    I like that you bring in the local history and it is relevant and needs to be looked at always. We often read about far away places and are used to our place we live in and we don’t even know what happened right in our own backyard. I am glad that in our city, the underground railroad ended in a what is now a residence for students. It’s always great to gain further knowledge

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