W.G. Hoskins and the founding of modern local history

John Beckett

in Writing Local History

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780719029509
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700679 | DOI:
W.G. Hoskins and the founding of modern local history

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This chapter deals with foundation of local history and contribution of W.G. Hoskins to it. Prior to 1945, local history struggled to maintain its credibility with the community of professional historians who concerned themselves with politics, the state and constitutional matters. Local studies were seen as a means of contributing to the understanding of these issues, but in themselves they were considered to have value only as contributions to antiquarian study. Methodologically the beginnings of a new way of thinking originated in France in the 1920s, in the work of the Annales School, and arrived in England after 1945 for a variety of linked reasons, including the founding of the Department of English Local History at Leicester University. If any one person can be said to have driven the new local history, it was W.G. Hoskins, who founded the Leicester department, and who pressed for the subject to be studied in its own right, not just as a contribution simply to national history.

Keywords: W.G. Hoskins; modern local history; professional historians; Annales school; English local history

Chapter.  7201 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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