LOCAL HISTORY RANGES broadly over place, people and time. In the quarter-century and more since I first set out to survey its scope and potential, local history has not stood still. It has been exhilarating, and sometimes exhausting, to discover and seek to encapsulate these developments and what is now the current state of the subject. This new edition is much revised. It reflects growth and diversification in the evidence and themes local history may use, new and wider perspectives on what is relevant, and new ways to access information, manage and analyse data and share findings and ideas. This is true from the earliest recorded periods, where new evidence has continued to come to light, and where great strides are being made in collating and interpreting it across documents, landscape and archaeology, all the way to the very recent past, as the twentieth century is increasingly studied, with local history playing a major part.
Many people have helped me along the way, with ideas, discussion and illustrations. The encouragement and shared enthusiasm of students, grass-roots enthusiasts and colleagues has been invaluable. Warm thanks are due to them all, including Mark Bailey, John Blair, Adam Chapman, David Clark, Alan Crosby, Gary Crossley, Joan Dils, Simon Draper, Dick Hunter, Dan Miles, Stephen Mileson, Mark Page, Mark Priddey, Don Ratcliffe, Adrienne Rosen, Jennifer Thorp, Geoff Timmins, Simon Townley, Tom Williamson, Angus Winchester and William Wintle. Any errors remaining, despite their help, are my own. Special thanks are due to James Bond for his generous help with illustrations, maps and plans, to Giles Darkes for his cartographic and illustrative skills, and to my husband, Liam. Not only has he contributed many photographs, as we have visited or revisited sites and sources of local history interest, but he has (as for earlier projects) tolerated deadlines, disruptions and local-history-themed holidays as this book has taken shape. It is dedicated to him.
Illustrations are a key part of the book and I am pleased to acknowledge sources and permissions as follows (page numbers are given): Berkshire Record Office D/A1/200/104, 173-5; D/P132/13/4/22, 204; Bodleian Library, Oxford 23 (R. Pal. 5.4b (O. S.), Item XXIII), 55; Bolton Council, Worktown Archive, 258; James Bond 47, 49, 51, 52, 56, 71, 76, 78, 82, 105, 117, 121, 141, 194; Geoffrey Bryant 125; courtesy of Carnegie Publishing 228;