Editorial note

Page xv

A History of the County of Leicester: Volume 4, the City of Leicester. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1958.

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The system on which this volume has been compiled and edited is the same as that described in the editorial note to the second volume of the Victoria History of Leicestershire. The same group of Leicestershire patrons, under the distinguished chairmanship of Sir Robert Martin, have continued their generous grants for the support of a local editor, and the University of London has watched over the whole enterprise and published the results.

This is the first volume in the Victoria History series to be devoted exclusively to the history of a provincial town. Like its two predecessors, the second and third volumes of the Victoria History of Leicestershire, it was planned by Dr. W. G. Hoskins, while still Reader in English Local History at the University College, Leicester, now the University of Leicester. Dr. Hoskins also commissioned many of the articles that form the volume, but, owing to his departure for Oxford, he was unable to edit them. Designed to cover the history of Leicester since the Conquest, this volume falls into three main parts. The first part covers the political, social, economic and administrative history of the town as a whole. For this purpose the history of Leicester has been divided into four periods, and for each period there are two parallel chapters. In addition there are chapters on education and, for the period since 1835, on three of Leicester's industries. There is no separate article, however, on engineering: it was deemed impossible to divide engineering in the city from engineering in the county, and the whole history of engineering in Leicester and in Leicestershire has been treated in a single chapter in Volume III. The second part of the present volume covers the topography of the area which constituted the borough until 1891. In this part it was found inconvenient, and in some respects impracticable, to deal with all the various subjects within the topographical framework familiar to readers of parish histories in this series. There are, therefore, in addition to chapters on the several parishes and liberties, separate chapters on mills, lost churches, Roman Catholic and Protestant nonconformity, the borough charities, and almshouses and hospitals. The third part of the volume covers the topography of the areas added to Leicester at various dates since 1891. It may be specially mentioned that the history of the population and physical growth of the city, which is the work of Mr. C. T. Smith, has been woven into the chapters on social and administrative history since 1660, and not reserved, as in rural Leicestershire, for separate treatment.

For general help in the preparation of the volume, and especially for advice upon architectural descriptions, thanks are due to Professor Jack Simmons. Thanks are also due to Mr. C. D. B. Ellis for his advice, particularly on the history of charities. The services of Dr. L. A. Parker, the Leicestershire County Archivist, and Mr. G. A. Chinnery, the Leicester City Archivist, are recalled with like appreciation. Information provided by Mr. A. Wright, of Leicester City Library, and by Mr. J. Hill, of Leicester, about the history of the City in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is gratefully acknowledged, as is also the permission given by parochial incumbents, clerks of charities, and others to consult records in their possession.

The articles in this volume were in preparation up to the summer of 1956, and do not take account of changes which have taken place since then, notably the transformation of University College, Leicester, into the University of Leicester.