Having 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!!