A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1954.
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Volume I of the Victoria History of Leicestershire was published in 1907, and was designed as the first of four volumes; Though some material for a second volume was ready by 1908 no further progress was made until 1948, when a group of enthusiasts in Leicestershire came together to form a Leicestershire Victoria County History Committee. Upon this Committee there have sat since that time representatives of the Leicestershire County Council, the Leicester City Council, the Leicestershire Archaeological Society, the Leicestershire Literary and Philosophical Society, the Leicester Chamber of Commerce, the Leicester Branch of the Historical Association, and the Diocese of Leicester. In addition certain individuals have been co-opted. The two local authorities and the two Leicestershire societies subscribed funds for editorial purposes in the period from 1948 to 1953. Since 1953 the Leicestershire Literary and Philosophical Society has been unable to continue its grant, but University College, Leicester, has stepped into its place. The other three bodies continue to subscribe. A valuable donation to the funds was made in 1949 by the Leicester Chamber of Commerce.
The scheme devised in 1948 constitutes a partnership between Leicestershire and the University of London similar to and modelled approximately upon that subsisting between the University and Wiltshire, described in the introductory note to the Victoria History of Wiltshire, Volume VII. By such a partnership the local Committee is responsible for preparing and editing the material for the history and the University for publishing it. As the first step in carrying out its share of the enterprise the local Committee appointed as its honorary local editor Dr. W. G. Hoskins, then Reader in English Local History at University College, Leicester, and now Reader in Economic History in the University of Oxford. Both the University of London and Leicestershire were singularly fortunate in attracting to the local editorship a person so deeply immersed in local studies as Dr. Hoskins. He planned the present volume, its successor, and the articles which are to form the history of Leicester City, and edited much of the material submitted. In 1951 he was joined for a time as honorary local editor by Dr. C. H. Thompson, then Archivist to the Leicestershire County Council and now holding a parallel post in Surrey. In 1949 Mr. R. A. McKinley was appointed full-time local Assistant Editor and became local Editor in 1952 when Dr. Hoskins resigned from his post at University College, Leicester.
Everyone interested in local history must be sensible of the debt that is owed to those bodies in Leicestershire who have so generously granted funds to enable this and succeeding volumes to be prepared. Without their subsidies there is no likelihood that the History of Leicestershire would have been completed in the present generation. In particular, deep gratitude must be felt, as much by the University of London as by Leicestershire, to Sir Robert Martin, Chairman alike of the Leicestershire County Council and of the local V.C.H. Committee. His lively interest in the Leicestershire history and powerful local influence have contributed most valuably to the whole enterprise.
There are some points peculiar to this volume which it is desirable to explain. The history of Leicester City is being treated on its own. Most of the general chapters on Leicestershire, therefore, in this and the succeeding volume ignore the City; where they do not, the fact is mentioned in text or footnote. Although the chapter on Ecclesiastical History in Volume I purports to cover the whole history of Christianity in Leicestershire, Roman Catholicism had been less fully treated than the history of either the Church of England or of Protestant Nonconformity. This explains the presence in this volume of a special article on Roman Catholicism. Volume III is designed to include a comprehensive index to the first three volumes of the Leicestershire History; hence there is no index in this one.
Much valuable help has been given both in the preparation and execution of this volume and in the preparation of the volumes that are to follow it by Professor Jack Simmons and by Dr. L. A. Parker and Mrs. A. M. Woodcock, archivists of the county and city of Leicester respectively.
R. B. PUGH