Centre for Urban history

About us

The Centre for Urban History, founded in 1985, is a unique institution for the study of towns and cities. With an international reputation, our knowledge and expertise have a global as well as a local reach. We study the urban history of Europe and Asia since 1700 with special interests in Britain, China, India and Ireland. 

Our research and teaching are directed to policy and practice in areas such as conservation and heritage as well as to scholarly publication. We have excellent links to organisations in Leicester and further afield with interests in the urban past. 

Students can take MA degrees and MPhil/PhD degrees and are an integral part of the life of the Centre. We run a fortnightly seminar series and host a variety of exciting workshops and conferences. 

The Centre is based in a Victorian house in a historic conservation area close to the main University campus. It houses an ample range of facilities including a dedicated urban history library, access to computers and a common room for staff and postgraduate students. 

The CUH Community

The development of a real community spirit is fostered in CUH, where graduates are encouraged to provide mutual support, to socialise together and to augment their professional expertise by organising their own workshops and seminar series, by taking part in conferences, by teaching and public speaking, by dealing with the press, and by understanding author's copyright and publishing before thesis completion. Each year CUH welcomes a number of international scholars usually for a semester. For details see the Visitor Programme. In recent years we have welcomed colleagues from China, Japan, Turkey, Bosnia, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic and Austria. CUH has excellent study facilities for research students and international visitors: office space, a specialist library and local history collection, weekly seminar programme, workshops and conferences.

Archive Collections and Catalogues

The East Midlands Oral History Archive, established in 2000 as a partnership between the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council, is a major archival repository of oral history recordings. EMOHA collects, preserves and disseminates these recordings and also equips local historians across the East Midlands with the skills and training necessary to document and interpret their own oral history material. The David Wilson Library also holds the catalogued papers of HJ Dyos, often considered the inspirational force to urban history in Britain. Other personal papers, including those of such pioneer figures in Local History as WG Hoskins and HP Finberg are also held in the Archives Room. These collections provide useful insights into the intellectual origins and networks of early Leicester pioneers in these fields. You can consult the Dyos catalogue on-line. The Centre has its own growing specialist library to complement the University Library's excellent collection of urban, archaeological and local history books and journals. CUH also holds slide and post card collections in the Archives. These are useful resources that the Centre seeks to develop further, once cataloguing has been completed.

CUH as Hub

The Centre for Urban History provides a hub for British and international activities in terms of on-line resources, publications and conferences for urban historians. The Centre edits the academic journal, Urban History (published by CUP), and produces an on-line conference diary. In addition, it coordinates meetings of the British Urban History Group, and promotes the Pre-Modern Towns Group and European Urban History Association conferences.

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