Centre for Regional and Local History

About the Centre

In 2022 the Centre for English Local History became the Centre for Regional and Local History.

Founded in 1948, English Local History helped to establish local history as a respected academic discipline in the UK. In 1988, ELH moved to Marc Fitch House at 3-5 Salisbury Road, which we shared with the Centre for Urban History. In 2021 the Centre was moved out of Marc Fitch House to a new space on the University's main campus. We are now located in the Attenborough Tower, with research spaces that include two reference libraries with flexible research and seminar spaces.

Our new name reflects the Centre for Regional and Local History’s strategic purpose, which is to teach and research history at the highest academic level through the lens of local studies. Under our new name, we will continue to extend the our academic reputation as the leading interdisciplinary research unit in the UK for the study of comparative local history by maintaining our broad chronological coverage (early medieval to modern), widening our geographical remit, and strengthening our commitment to landscape and environmental history, geography, archaeology, and social, cultural and gender history. We are also developing more diverse approaches to regional and local history by supporting research into Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic local histories, as well as histories of rural racism and exclusion. We are keen to hear from with colleagues across the University whose research interests intersect with our own.

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.

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