A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 1, the City of Chester: General History and Topography. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2003.
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This Volume is the fourth to appear in the series for Cheshire. Planning for it was begun by Dr. B. E. Harris at a time when the staff of the Cheshire History, funded in full by Cheshire County Council and the Leverhulme Trust, consisted of himself as county editor and Dr. A. T. Thacker as assistant editor. The Leverhulme Trust, whose support had been instrumental in restarting the Cheshire History in 1971, continued its generous financial support until 1985, when the county council took on the whole burden of paying for research and writing. On Dr. Harris's death in 1988 he was succeeded as county editor by Dr. Thacker, who had been acting editor during Dr. Harris's long illness. Dr. J. S. Barrow was appointed as assistant editor in 1989 but resigned to take up a post at the University of Nottingham in 1990 and was not replaced. In 1990 an appeal for additional funds to enable the work of the Cheshire staff to continue was led by Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Hess of Chorlton Hall; its success ensured that the Cheshire History did not close down at that stage, and the warmest thanks are offered to Mr. and Mrs. Hess for their work. The names of those who gave money to the Cheshire Appeal are recorded with gratitude at the end of this volume. From 1992 to 1995 the University of London directly supported the Cheshire History by seconding Dr. C. P. Lewis part-time from the central staff of the Victoria History to assist Dr. Thacker. On Dr. Thacker's appointment as deputy editor of the Victoria County Histories in London in 1995, Dr. Lewis succeeded him as county editor and new arrangements were put in place for the management of the Cheshire History. Until 1995 the progress of the Cheshire volumes was supervised by an Editorial Board including representatives of Cheshire County Council, the Leverhulme Trust (until 1985), the Cheshire Appeal (from 1990), and the University of Liverpool. In 1995 the university agreed to become the employer of the Cheshire staff, and a new tripartite agreement was signed between itself, the county council, and the University of London as owner of the V.C.H. The work of the Cheshire History continued to be supported financially by the county council and the appeal, both of which were represented on an Advisory Committee set up by the University of Liverpool. The offices of the Cheshire History were moved from county council premises in Chester to the Department of History in Liverpool. The university's support was made possible through Professors C. T. Allmand, M. Elliott, and A. Harding of the Department of History and Professor J. N. Tarn, pro-vice-chancellor. Those arrangements, however, lasted only until 1998, when Cheshire County Council was unable to continue its financial support, and the University of Liverpool stepped in by reappointing Dr. Lewis as a Lecturer in History and part-time county editor. The support of successive heads of the Department and later School of History at Liverpool, Professors Harding, Allmand, J. C. Belchem, and P. A. Stafford, is recorded here with sincere thanks.
A great many people have helped with the research and writing of this volume, and they are thanked in the footnotes to the appropriate chapters. The authors who were not members of staff of the Victoria History showed exemplary patience in the long delays - caused by the administrative changes and funding difficulties outlined above - in the publication of their chapters. The staff of record offices and libraries in Chester, London, and elsewhere readily made documents and books available and shared their knowledge of the collections in their care. A particular debt is owed to successive head archivists and staff of the Cheshire county and Chester city record offices.