Local & Community

In the UK millions of people volunteer to support activities in their local area and communities. The preservation of historical places, artefacts and sites is a valuable part of that community volunteering, while the research and promotion of local history to the communities that it can affect is an important way of connecting people to history and to each other. In this section articles and information will be included on local history activities such as ‘Local History Month’, the activities and concerns of local history societies, and community action and engagement projects around particular aspects of history.

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  • My Favourite History Place: The Beguinage at Bruges

    Article

    Richard Stone introduces us to a quiet neighbourhood in Bruges which has played its part in the development of women’s independence.  Close to the Minnewaterpark, on the fringe of the bustling historic centre of Bruges, with its medieval buildings and atmospheric cobbled streets, the Beguinage is a tranquil haven. Cross the...

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  • Film: Veteran Mervyn Kersh Talks about his experience of World War II

    Multipage Article

    Mervyn Kersh was a young man from South London whose army service included arriving into Normandy in the first few days of the invasion, crossing the Rhine and being a British Jewish serviceman in Germany when the war ended. In this film released to commemorate VE Day Mervyn describes his...

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  • The last battle: Bomber Command’s veterans and the fight for remembrance

    Article

    Frances Houghton examines how and why the popular memory of the Second World War continues to be contested. Early on the morning of Monday 21 January 2019, still-wet white gloss paint was discovered to have been thrown across the Bomber Command Memorial in London’s Green Park. The bronze sculpture of a...

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  • Out and About in Upper Weardale

    Article

    Tony Fox introduces us to two battlefields and the work of the Battlefields Trust. Stanhope takes its name from the ‘stony valley’ in which it sits. It is the most significant town in beautiful Upper Weardale. Like many towns in this area Stanhope’s growth accelerated in the nineteenth century as...

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  • Churchyards

    Article

    Churchyards (Britain's Heritage series), Roger Bowdler, Amberley Publishing, 2019, 64p, £8-99. ISBN 9781445691114 This book is dedicated to the memory of Frederick Burgess, the author of English Churchyard Memorials (1963), from whom many of us learned to study and understand what we find in churchyards. This carefully developed study by...

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  • Willington and the Mowbrays: After the Peasants Revolt

    Article

    Willington and the Mowbrays: After the Peasants Revolt, Dorothy Jamieson, Bedford Historical Record Society Vol 95, Boydell Press, 2019, 241p, £25-00, ISSN 0067-4826. At one level this scholarly and meticulous study introduces us to the Willington neighbourhood in Bedfordshire. Based on Dorothy Jamieson’s careful transcription of its manorial court rolls,...

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  • Tracing Your Ancestors in Lunatic Asylums: a Guide for Family Historians

    Article

    Tracing Your Ancestors in Lunatic Asylums: a Guide for Family Historians, Michelle Higgs, Pen and Sword, 2019,  196p, £14-99. ISBN 978 1 52674 485 2 My great-great-grandmother Emma Wood’s brother, Theophilus Wood, died in the Warwickshire Lunatic Asylum in 1871. It was his extraordinary fore-name that initially attracted my attention...

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  • Exploring local sources

    Article

    Tim Lomas was correct when he said, in his article in the Summer 2019 edition of The Historian, that historians can see much more in medieval documents than the scribes intended.  Lay manors in Bedfordshire are a good example. Eggington manor, in the south-west, was part of a larger estate and held...

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  • The Common Story: A history of Tooting Common

    Article

    The Common Story: A history of Tooting Common, [ed] Katy Layton-Jones, Wandsworth Council’s Tooting Common Heritage Project, 2019, 132p, £10-00 from the Tooting History Group [or downloadable free via link on the Tooting History Group page]. A few miles from the Historical Association office, a substantial and easily accessible open...

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  • Out and About: Kennington and the Elephant and Castle

    Article

    The HA's very own Martin Hoare takes us on a tour of Kennington and Elephant and Castle, to some lesser-known gems that ought to be higher on the London tourist trail. Over the years of working for the HA I’ve quite often used my lunch break to take walks around the areas...

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  • Bathing Beauties, Knobbly Knees and Music by the Sea: The Marina, Great Yarmouth 1937-1979

    Article

    Bathing Beauties, Knobbly Knees and Music by the Sea: The Marina, Great Yarmouth 1937-1979, Colin Miller, Poppyland Publishing, 2019, 134p, £10-95, ISBN 9781909796584. At one level this is a detailed chronicle of what happened in Great Yarmouth when the local council decided in the 1930s to develop an open-air music...

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  • A European dimension to local history

    Article

    Trevor James raises the prospect of broadening our approaches to local history to take a wider European perspective. When Professor W. G. Hoskins published his The Making of the English Landscape in 1955, he taught us how to observe and understand the topography of our landscapes, urban and rural, and...

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  • The Diabolical Cato-Street Plot

    Article

    Richard A. Gaunt reminds us that it is still possible to visit the site of a notorious conspiratorial challenge to Lord Liverpool’s government, and why this event was so significant. At around 7.30pm on Wednesday 23 February 1820, a dozen Bow Street Runners in plain clothes, led by George Thomas...

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  • George Eliot and Warwickshire history

    Article

    David Paterson explains how George Eliot’s vivid memory of her childhood in north Warwickshire is revealed through her novels. George Eliot, born 200 years ago this year, is one of our greatest novelists, born and brought up in Warwickshire, a county in which she spent the first 30 years of...

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  • Woodland in the East Staffordshire landscape

    Article

    Richard Stone explains that the natural landscape can be a resource for anyone exploring local topography. The idea for researching this topic came while reading Oliver Rackham’s excellent Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape. Calculations based on woodland recorded in Domesday Book revealed my home county of Staffordshire, with...

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  • Homes fit for heroes? James Cecil and the public interest

    Article

    Hugh Gault reminds us that the provision of adequate and price-accessible housing stock has been a matter of public debate and concern for over a hundred years. Economics and financial priorities have continued to undermine the methodologies and good intentions needed to solve the problem. This year is the hundredth...

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  • The burial dilemma

    Article

    The recent attacks on Karl Marx’s grave in Highgate Cemetery have added impetus to the public debate about how we memorialise the dead and the public and private costs of mourning.

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  • Havelock Hall: the East India Company college gymnasium at Addiscombe

    Article

    Trevor James emphasises the importance of this structure in England’s sporting landscape. Tucked behind the houses in Havelock Road in the East Croydon suburb of Addiscombe is a seemingly unprepossessing building, known locally as ‘Havelock Hall’. Now converted into flats, it derives its name from its late nineteenth-century religious use,...

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  • The Parish Atlas of England

    Article

    The Parish Atlas of England: All Early Ordnance Survey 6-inch Maps Traced Over, (ed) T.C.H. Cockin, Malthouse Press, 2017, 898p, £60.00*, ISBN 978-1-907364-10-5. *The Parish Atlas of England is available to Historical Association members at the special price of £45.00 direct from the publishers: The Malthouse Press, Grange Cottage, Malthouse Lane,...

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  • Out and About in Derry/Londonderry

    Article

    Jenni Hyde was out and about in Derry in 2016 and describes how the sights of the city tell the story of a history which is so much more than just the legacy of the Troubles.

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