Editorial note

Pages xv-xvi

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 1, Physique, Archaeology, Domesday, Ecclesiastical Organization, the Jews, Religious Houses, Education of Working Classes To 1870, Private Education From Sixteenth Century. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1969.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



The revival of the Victoria History of Middlesex in 1955 is described in the Editorial Note to Volume III. The arrangements there explained, by which the Local Authorities in the administrative county of Middlesex, the London County Council, and the Middlesex Local History Council came to collaborate with the University of London to continue the History of the county, have in principle remained unaltered. Under the London Government Act (1963), however, the former participating Authorities have since 1965 been grouped together and have mostly assumed new names. The University of London records again its true appreciation of the generous grants made by the Authorities. In 1965 the Middlesex Local History Council was fused with the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. The present constituents of the Middlesex Victoria County History Council are set out below.

Sir Archer Hoare, C.B.E., resigned from the chairmanship of the lastnamed Council in 1963 and was replaced by Mr. R. M. Robbins. Several changes have also occurred in the editorial staff. In 1963 Mr. H. P. F. King resigned the office of Local Editor and was replaced in 1964 by Dr. K. G. T. McDonnell, a Lecturer in History at Queen Mary College, University of London, who was temporarily seconded for the purpose. On Dr. McDonnell's return to the College in 1966, Mr. J. S. Cockburn, who had been appointed Assistant Local Editor in 1961 on the resignation of Mrs. Gillian R. Wyld and advanced to Senior Assistant Local Editor in 1964, replaced him as Acting Local Editor. Mr. Cockburn resigned in 1967 and was succeeded by Mr. T. F. T. Baker. Mr. D. C. Yaxley, appointed an Assistant Local Editor in 1962, resigned in 1964 and was succeeded by Miss Diane K. Bolton in 1965. All these Local Editors and their Assistants have in one way or another played their part in the preparation of the present volume, as has Miss Susan Reynolds, a former Local Editor.

This is the third volume to be published in the Middlesex set, and completes the 'general' chapters for the county. These conform to a plan framed in 1955 by a Sub-Committee of the Victoria County History Committee of the Institute of Historical Research. The plan provided for the exclusion of nearly all the articles on natural history of the kind formerly inserted in the series and for the omission of any general study of ecclesiastical history. It seemed doubtful to the Sub-Committee whether the ecclesiastical history of the county could be fairly written until the history of religion in each parish had been examined. The structure and aims of the Victoria History series as a whole are outlined in an article published in the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, Volume XL (No. 101, May 1967).

In the early years of the century a decision was taken to separate the history of London from the history of Middlesex and to provide a separate set of volumes for each. On the title-page of the Victoria History of London, Volume I, published in 1909, 'London' is said to include 'London within the Bars, Westminster, and Southwark'; in the Preface it is called 'the district within the Bars of London, the borough of Southwark, and the ancient parish of Westminster'. It must be noted that the Editorial Note in the Victoria History of Middlesex, Volume II, published in 1911, contains no definition of the area of Middlesex. The definitions in London, Volume I, are confusing because the word 'Westminster' has borne different meanings at different times and the 'ancient parish of Westminster' has no precise meaning at all. Whether the plan was to interpret 'Westminster' in a wide or a narrow sense can now hardly be known with certainty. In any case no one meaning seems to have been consistently adhered to in London, Volume I. This has created certain difficulties for the compilers of the present volume and has suggested the advantage of marking on the maps the boundaries of the City and the Liberties of Westminster as they were in 1847.

The volume has profited much from the co-operation of scholars not actually engaged in its compilation. Particular thanks are due to Professor W. F. Grimes, C.B.E., under whose superintendence the archaeological articles were prepared, to Dr. D. B. Harden, O.B.E., who made available the services of his staff at the London Museum, to Miss Barbara Harvey, who advised on the lands of Westminster Abbey, to Professor A. V. Judges, who greatly helped with the planning of the articles on education, and to Miss E. D. Mercer, formerly Middlesex County Archivist and now Archivist to the Greater London Council. The kindness of many others who supplied information or gave access to documents is also gratefully remembered.