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The VICTORIA HISTORY OF THE COUNTIES OF ENGLAND, commonly known as the VICTORIA COUNTY HISTORY or the VCH, is an English history project which began in 1899 and was dedicated to Queen Victoria with the aim of creating an encyclopaedic history of each of the historic counties of England . In 2012 the project was rededicated to HM Queen Elizabeth II in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee year. :7 Since 1933 the project has been coordinated by the Institute of Historical Research in the University of London
University of London
.

CONTENTS

* 1 History * 2 Progress * 3 Structure and content of the county histories * 4 Completed county histories * 5 Counties in progress * 6 Dormant counties * 7 Counties with no published volumes * 8 General editors * 9 Notable county editors * 10 Genealogical editor * 11 See also * 12 References * 13 Further reading * 14 External links

HISTORY

The history of the VCH falls into three main phases, defined by different funding regimes: an early phase, 1899–1914, when the project was conceived as a commercial enterprise, and progress was rapid; a second more desultory phase, 1914–1947, when relatively little progress was made; and the third phase beginning in 1947, when, under the auspices of the Institute of Historical Research, a high academic standard was set, and progress has been slow but reasonably steady. :54–6 These phases have also been characterised by changing attitudes towards the proper scope of English local history . The early volumes were planned on the model of traditional English county histories , with a strong emphasis on manorial descents, the advowsons of parish churches, and the local landed gentry : a prospectus of c. 1904 stated that "there is _no Englishman_ to whom does not in some one or other of its features make a direct appeal". :55 More recent volumes – especially those published since the 1950s – have been more wide-ranging in their approach, and have included systematic coverage of social and economic history , industrial history , population history , educational history , landscape history , religious nonconformity , and so on: individual parish histories have consequently grown considerably in length and complexity.

From 1902 the joint general editors were A. Henry Doubleday and William Page . Doubleday resigned (in acrimonious circumstances) in 1904, :148–52 leaving Page as sole general editor until his death in 1934. In 1932 Page bought the rights to the ailing project for a nominal sum, donating it to the Institute of Historical Research the following year. Page was succeeded as general editor by L.F. Salzman , who remained in post until 1949. The early volumes depended heavily on the efforts of a large number of young research workers, mostly female, fresh from degree courses at Oxford , Cambridge , London or the Scottish universities , for whom other employment opportunities were limited: the VCH of this period has been described as "a history for gentlemen largely researched by ladies". :54

From 1909 until 1931 Frederick Smith , later 2nd Viscount Hambleden , was the VCH's major sponsor. In February 2005 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the VCH £3,374,000 to fund the England\'s Past for Everyone project, which ran from September that year until February 2010.

PROGRESS

The first VCH volume was published in 1901, and publication continued slowly throughout the 20th century, although in some counties it has come to a halt, especially during the First World War
First World War
and again in the 1970s. Some inactive counties have recently been reactivated.

There are now more than 230 VCH volumes, with around three new volumes published per year. Each is published with a red cover, and they are therefore sometimes known as "the big red books". When the Institute of Historical Research published a short history of the project to mark the 75th anniversary of taking it over, it was titled _The Little Big Red Book_. A special edition Jubilee book was published in 2012, _A Diamond Jubilee Celebration 1899-2012._

A map showing the publication status appears on the VCH website.

STRUCTURE AND CONTENT OF THE COUNTY HISTORIES

From its inception, responsibility for writing the volumes was delegated to local editors for each individual county. The county editors traditionally worked under the direction of a general editor, following a uniform format and style.

In general, the histories begin with one or more volumes of general studies of the county as a whole, including major themes, such as religious history, agriculture, industries, population (with summary tables of decennial census totals 1801–1901), and an introduction to and translation of the relevant section of Domesday Book
Domesday Book
. These volumes are followed by others consisting of detailed historical surveys of each Hundred , Wapentake (discussed in separate Riding (country subdivision) volumes) and Ward (country subdivision) , parish by parish. At first, ancient ecclesiastical parishes formed the unit of investigation, but "since the mid-1950s the VCH parish is the civil parish , the modern successor of the ancient parishes or of townships within them. Large towns are dealt with as a whole, including, since the 1960s, built-up areas of adjoining, formerly rural parishes. :18–19

Under the original plan, each county, in addition to its general and topographical volumes, was to have a genealogical volume containing the pedigrees of county families . Genealogical volumes were published in a large folio format for Northamptonshire (1906) and Hertfordshire (1907), but the research costs were found to be excessive, and this side of the project was discontinued. :156–57

COMPLETED COUNTY HISTORIES

Some of the county histories have been completed. For each of these, the number of volumes published and the date of completion is as follows:

* Bedfordshire (3 volumes) 1972 * Berkshire
Berkshire
(4 volumes) 1972 * Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire
(4 volumes) * Cambridgeshire (10 volumes) 2002 * Hampshire
Hampshire
(5 volumes) 1973 * Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
(4 volumes) 1971 * Huntingdonshire (3 volumes) 1974 * Lancashire
Lancashire
(8 volumes) 1993 * Rutland (2 volumes) 1975 * Surrey
Surrey
(4 volumes) 1967 * Warwickshire
Warwickshire
(8 volumes) 1969 * Worcestershire
Worcestershire
(4 volumes) 1971 * Yorkshire
Yorkshire
(North Riding) (2 volumes) 2002

COUNTIES IN PROGRESS

For each uncompleted county history on which work is continuing (i.e.: "active" in VCH terminology), the number of volumes published and the dates of the most recent are as follows: The title-page of Cornwall
Cornwall
(1906) From a VCH frontispiece, 1911

* Cornwall
Cornwall
(1 volume in 2 parts) 1925 * County Durham (4 volumes) 2005 * Cumberland
Cumberland
(2 volumes) 1968 * Derbyshire (2 volumes) 1907 * Essex
Essex
(10 volumes) 2001 * Gloucestershire (11 volumes) 2016 * Herefordshire (1 volume) 1975 * Kent
Kent
(3 volumes) 1974 * Leicestershire
Leicestershire
(5 volumes) 1988 * Middlesex
Middlesex
(12 volumes) 2004 * Northamptonshire (5 volumes) 2002 * Nottinghamshire (2 volumes) 1970 * Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire
(16 volumes) 2011 * Shropshire
Shropshire
(11 volumes) 1985 * Somerset (10 volumes) 2010 * Staffordshire
Staffordshire
(14 volumes) 2013 * Sussex
Sussex
(11 volumes) 1987 * Westmorland (0 volumes) * Wiltshire (18 volumes) 2011 * East Riding of Yorkshire (7 volumes) 2002 * Yorkshire
Yorkshire
(West Riding)

DORMANT COUNTIES

_ Logo of VCH publisher, Constable & Co. Ltd_

* Cheshire
Cheshire
(6 volumes) 2005 * Devon
Devon
(1 volume) 1906 * Dorset
Dorset
(2 volumes) 1968 * Lincolnshire (1 volume) * London (1 volume) 1974 * Norfolk
Norfolk
(2 volumes) 1975 * Suffolk
Suffolk
(2 volumes) 1975 * Yorkshire
Yorkshire
(general volumes ">

* ^ _A_ _B_ Beckett, John; Bristow, Matthew; Williamson, Elizabeth (2013). _The Victoria County History
Victoria County History
1899-2012: a Diamond Jubilee celebration_ (2nd ed.). London: University of London, Institute of Historical Research. ISBN 9781905165919 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Lewis, Christopher (1989). "The Victoria County History". _Particular Places: an introduction to English local history_. London: British Library. ISBN 0712301755 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Powell, W. Raymond (2001). _John Horace Round: Historian and Gentleman of Essex_. Chelmsford: Essex
Essex
Record Office. ISBN 1-898529-19-1 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Lewis, Chris (2008). "William Page (1861–1934), general editor of the Victoria County History 1902–34". _Making History _. * ^ "England\'s Past for Everyone". _Victoria County History_. Retrieved 30 March 2014. * ^ "75 years at the IHR". _Victoria County History_. Retrieved 24 May 2009. * ^ "VCH Counties". _Victoria County History_. Retrieved 24 March 2013. * ^ _A_ _B_ Tiller, Kate (1992). _English local history: an introduction_. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-86299-958-8 . * ^ "Dr Christopher Currie, MA, D Phil (Oxon), FRHistS, FSA". _IHR_. Retrieved 25 February 2015. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "Contributors to the VCH". _IHR_. Retrieved 25 February 2015. * ^ "Professor Richard Hoyle appointed as VCH Director & General Editor". _IHR_. Retrieved 25 February 2015.

FURTHER READING

* Beckett, J.V. (2008). "Local history, family history and the Victoria County History: new directions for the twenty-first century". _Historical Research_. 81: 350–65. doi :10.1111/j.1468-2281.2007.00426.x . * Beckett, J.V. (2009). "The Thoroton Society and the Victoria County History". _Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire _. 113: 119–36. * Beckett, J.V. (2009). "Libraries and the Victoria County History". _Library & Information History_. 25: 217–26. doi :10.1179/175834809x12489648790016 . * Beckett, J.V. (2011). "Writing Hampshire's History: the Victoria County History, 1899–1914". _Proceedings of the Hampshire
Hampshire
Field Club & Archaeological Society_. 66: 201–214. * Beckett, J.V. (2011). "W.G. Hoskins , the Victoria County History, and the study of English local history". _Midland History_. 36: 115–127. doi :10.1179/004772911x12956221816321 . * Beckett, J.V. (2011). "W.G. Hoskins and the Victoria County History in Leicestershire". _Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society_. 85: 165–191. * Beckett, J.V. (2011). "Topography and landscape history: the role of the Victoria County History". _Landscape History_. 32: 57–65. doi :10.1080/01433768.2011.10594659 . * Beckett, J.V. (2011). "The Victoria County History
Victoria County History
in Devon, 1899–1910". _Devonshire Association Report and Transactions_. 143: 283–310. * Beckett, J.V. (2011). "The Cumberland
Cumberland
and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society and the Victoria County History". _Transactions of the Cumberland
Cumberland
& Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society_. 3rd ser. 11: 207–225. * Beckett, J.V. (2011). "Canon Thomas Taylor of St Just and the Victoria County History
Victoria County History
in Cornwall, 1899–1938". _Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall_: 31–44. * Beckett, J.V.; Watkins, Charles (2011). "Natural History and Local History in Late Victorian and Edwardian England: the contribution of the Victoria County History". _Rural History_. 22: 59–87. doi :10.1017/s0956793310000142 . * Cooper, Janet (1992). "The Victoria County History". In Neale, Kenneth. _ Essex
Essex
Heritage: essays presented to Sir William Addison as a tribute to his life and work for Essex
Essex
history and literature_. Oxford: Leopard's Head. pp. 15–30. * Currie, C.R.J. (1999). "Victoria County History". _History Today _. 49 (12): 28–30. * Dunning, R.W. (2006). "The Victoria County History
Victoria County History
of Cornwall: an uncertain start". _Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall_: 14–21. * Elrington, Christopher (1992). "The Victoria County History". _The Local Historian_. 22: 128–37. * Hackett, Mel; Whitston, Kerry (2008). _The Little Big Red Book: a celebration of 75 years of the Victoria County History
Victoria County History
at the Institute of Historical Research_. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 978-1-904356-14-1 . * Pugh, R.B. (1971). "The Victoria County History". _British Studies Monitor_. 2: 15–23.

EXTERNAL LINKS

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