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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  • Real Lives: Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial: Edward George Keeling

    Article

    Trevor James introduces a victim of an earlier pandemic. As we explore churchyards and appreciate the range of memorials that are revealed, they convey a variety of emotions and other messages. Sometimes they still contain quite unexpected surprises.  The single Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial in the relatively remote rural Staffordshire village...

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  • The experience of Bilston in the cholera epidemic of 1831–32

    Article

    Alannah Tomkins introduces a well-chronicled early example of how a local community dealt with cholera. In September 1832 James Holmes, the governor of the workhouse at Bilston in Staffordshire wrote a letter to the salaried parish overseer of Uttoxeter. The initial impetus for the letter came from the two parishes’ shared interest...

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  • Disease and healthcare on the Isle of Man

    Article

    Caroline Smith provides a perspective, past and present, of the experiences of epidemics on the Isle of Man.  In recent times health has been at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Epidemics and pandemics are not new, but the Covid-19 outbreak is probably the first to have such a noticeable effect...

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  • The Hornsey Enclosure Act 1813, David Frith

    Article

    The Hornsey Enclosure Act 1813, David Frith, Hornsey Historical Society, 2021, 92p [13 colour maps and 16 illustrations], £12-00, ISBN 978-0-906794-57-9. This publication by the Hornsey Historical Society may seem to be a very specialist work relating to a very specific location. Whilst that is strikingly self-evident, the reality is...

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  • Come Wind, Come Weather: Storm: Tempest and Other Natural Phenomena within Local Sources

    Article

    Come Wind, Come Weather: Storm: Tempest and Other Natural Phenomena within Local Sources, Trevor James, Lichfield Press, 2021, 116p. £10-00.  ISBN 978-0-905985-62-6  What a pleasure it is to review a book by that arch-reviewer, Dr Trevor James. This book follows closely on his previous one, England’s Saintly Landscapes, and confirms...

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  • Building St James's spire: Louth's guilds and popular piety in the later middle ages

    Article

    Medieval historian Dr Claire Kennan continued our Virtual Branch series with a local history talk on the building of St James's spire, Louth.  In her talk Kennan traces the important role that Louth's major guilds of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Holy Trinity played in the building of the St James’s spire. Throughout the...

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  • Local History Month 2021

    1st April 2021

    May is Local History Month and time to celebrate the local heritage that is all around us and time to get out and find out more.  While it may seem that the local area is the one place we do not want to focus on at the moment, it might...

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  • Thames Mudlarking: Searching for London’s Lost Treasures

    Article

    Thames Mudlarking: Searching for London’s Lost Treasures, Jason Sandy and Nick Stevens, Shire, 2021, 96pp, £9-99. ISBN 9781784424329.  For two hours every day low tide exposes what this book calls ‘the ‘longest archaeological site in Britain’. Erosion and riverboat activity regularly reveal new artefacts. Henry Mayhew, in London Labour and...

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  • My Favourite History Place - Barnard Castle

    Article

    Paula Kitching invites us to look at Barnard Castle with new eyes. Over the summer there was a lot of talk about Barnard Castle – I won’t go into the politics, but it did make me reflect on the actual town of Barnard Castle. Growing up, it was one of...

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  • Tracing Your Poor Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians

    Article

    Tracing Your Poor Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians, Stuart A. Raymond, Pen and Sword, 2020, 196p, £14-99. ISBN 9781526742933 This is a very helpful aide memoire for anyone wishing to find out what their impoverished ancestors may have experienced. Inevitably it cannot provide precise answers to the most specific...

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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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