The Centre for English Local History is unique, because we are devoted to the study of local history everywhere in England and Wales. Our foundation helped to found local history as a respected academic discipline, and many universities and colleges have taken up the subject. We are respected as the pioneer, and as a continuing source of new ideas. Our staff are all very active researchers, who pursue their own projects, and apply for research grants, often over long periods.
The Leicester approach is concerned with the interaction between society and landscape. The comparative method is used to test hypotheses and interpretations, which might include comparisons with places outside the British Isles. Research often involves the use of other disciplines, involving anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art history, folklore, geography and literary studies. The variety of themes include social, economic, political, religious, cultural and landscape history.
Students can take MA degrees, which are taught weekly over a year (or two years for part-timers), and these can lead to MPhil or PhD degrees, and at any one time at least 20 research students are preparing theses.
The Centre organises a fortnightly seminars through both academic semesters, and occasional symposia and conferences.
The Centre and our current students are supported by the alumni organisation, The Friends of the Centre for English Local History.
The Centre is accommodated in a Victorian house, provided by a generous benefactor, Marc Fitch. There are a wide range of facilities, including a library, a map library, access to computers, and a common room.