Centre for Local and Regional History

Our Centre for Local and Regional History provides a forum for research and teaching in the history of Essex, Suffolk and East Anglia. We explore our local region as a site for the study of national and global trends and processes, as well as how methods of doing local history can be applied within divergent local contexts across the world.

Courses

Two annual prizes are available to students undertaking local historical research as part of their course. These awards are available through the generosity of the Essex Society for Family History and the Friends of Historic Essex.

  • Resources and links

    We have close links with the Essex Record Office and the Essex Society for Archaeology and History and other professional and voluntary organisations in Essex and Suffolk concerned with the discovery, display and dissemination of the region’s history. These include:

    Essex Archaeological and Historical Congress

    Essex Archaeological and Historical Congress was founded in 1964 as an umbrella group bringing together nearly 100 organisations in the county interested in archaeology, local history, family history and civic life. As part of its promotional activities it holds an Archaeological Symposium every year in the autumn and a Local and Family History Symposium every other spring. Congress has an active publishing programme including the popular format twice-yearly journal on the county’s local history and archaeology called Essex Journal which is published in collaboration with the Essex Record Office and Friends of Historic Essex.

    Essex County Council Archaeology and Historic Buildings

    Essex County Council Archaeology and Historic Buildings provides a wide range of specialist planning advice, educational services, field and research projects, and publications concerned with the archaeology and built environment of the county. It also maintains the Essex Heritage Conservation Record, a database that records all the archaeological sites and finds within the county.

    Essex Heritage Trust

    Essex Heritage Trust was set up to help protect the county’s rich and diverse heritage and to make it more accessible to both residents and visitors. The charity (Reg. Char. 802317), which is based at Cressing Temple near Braintree, has helped fund a wide range of conservation, publication and other heritage projects.

    Essex Record Office

    Essex Record Office collects and preserves the county’s written heritage and is the official place of deposit for the county’s records. Most records are held at the main office in Chelmsford but there are branch offices holding some original materials at Southend and Colchester and also Archive Access Points at Saffron Walden and Harlow which have microfilm and microfiche copies of some materials. SEAX is the on-line computer system containing all the ERO catalogues and indexes, and is accessible through the ERO website site.

    The Essex Record Office is also supported by the Friends of Historic Essex (Reg. Char. 235270), which organises activities associated with archives, a Volunteer Scheme, and which shares sponsorship of the Essex Book Awards with the Essex Libraries service.

    Essex Society for Archaeology and History

    The Essex Society for Archaeology and History (Reg. Char. 213218), founded in Colchester in 1852, is the major society for those interested in the county’s past. It has a regular programme of excursions, holds lectures and special events, and runs research projects such as the Essex Place Name Project. It has a strong publication record, producing an annual set of scholarly transactions called Essex Archaeology and History, a regular newsletter, and a new series of Occasional Papers. Since 2000 the ESAH library of some 15,000 volumes collected over the past 150 years has been held as a dedicated collection in the Albert Sloman Library of the University of Essex.

    Information about the Society’s activities and how to become a member is available on the Essex Society for Archaeology and History website.

    Essex Society for Family History

    Essex Society for Family History promotes the public study of British family history, genealogy, heraldry, and local history, with particular reference to Essex. It has a Research Centre at the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford

    Suffolk Family History Society

    Suffolk Family History Society promotes the public study of British family history, genealogy, heraldry, and local history, with particular reference to Essex. It has a collection of reference books, transcripts, and other documents which may be consulted in the Suffolk Record Office at Ipswich.

    Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History

    Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History promotes interest in the archaeological and historical study of the county of Suffolk. It publishes an annual Proceedings containing authoritative articles by national and local experts on the history and archaeology of Suffolk. It also produces other occasional publications, has a lecture programme, and an archaeological field group involved in a variety of research projects.

    Suffolk Record Office

    Suffolk Record Office collects, preserves and catalogues the raw materials for the history of that county so that the public can use it for research purposes. The main collections of original records are housed in three branches at Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich, and Lowestoft. There is also an ‘Archives for All’ access point at Sudbury Library that holds microfilm and microfiche copies of records, as well as printed maps, books and pamphlets.

    Victoria County History of Essex

    The Victoria History of the Counties of England was begun in 1899 and named, with her permission, after Queen Victoria. It has an international reputation as a comprehensive work of reference and interpretation of the history of English local communities. It aims to write the history of every county, town and parish from the earliest times to the present day, working from original sources. The Essex VCH is now housed at the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford and the Institute of Historical Research, University of London and is supported financially by Essex County Council, the University of London, the VCH Essex Appeal Fund and Essex Heritage Trust.

    Essex Publications

    Essex Publications aims to publish important scholarly studies on the historic county of Essex in attractive and well-illustrated volumes. The history of Essex is both long and intricately patterned, and the series will reflect that complexity by addressing both a chronologically long time span, from the prehistoric to the 20th century, and a wide variety of themes, for example social, economic, cultural, environmental, architectural and military. Books in the series will include individual monographs, collected studies and conference proceedings. They may encompass material on the whole county of Essex or on specific areas or places, but the content and analysis will always address topics of wider historical interest and debate. Essex Publications will be available from all good bookshops in Essex as well as from online retailers and direct from UH Press.

Events

We run a regular programme of public events throughout the year including our annual Local History Day and our annual Dudley White Local History Lecture. Our members have also contributed to a number of popular public lecture series at Colchester's Firstsite gallery on subjects such as witchcraft and the history behind the statues on Colchester Town Hall.

In January 2016, there was a free one-day conference, Bourne Mill: A Window onto Colchester's Working Past.

See our conferences page for more details of the above events.

Centre members

See our individual academic staff profiles for information about our members' research interests:

Research projects

Research projects involving members of the Centre for Local and Regional History include: