This website makes available the theses completed by students at the Centre for English Local History, University of Leicester. The collection comprises 104 theses, 103 of them PhDs, and 1 MPhil. The full text is available to read and download in the majority of cases. The coverage begins in 1948 and ends in 2015. 

Founded in 1948, the Department (as it then was) pioneered local history as an academic discipline in Britain. Research students have been central to the Centre’s activities, and the theses are important research publications in their own right.

The diversity of themes and places found in the collection reflects Leicester’s mission to undertake local history across the regions of England, and to encourage interdisciplinary approaches. Many studies are comparative, or use long time frames that break the conventions of periodisation. 

Meta-data was compiled from the Centre's own bibliography and the University Library's records. Some theses were jointly supervised with other departments, such as Archaeology. 

Why we created the collection

Thanks to the generosity of the University’s Alumni Association (almost) all the PhD theses awarded to students at Leicester since 1924 have been digitised and made available freely online. You can find them at the Leicester Research Archive.

From the download statistics we could see that some of the most popular items were the studies of local history. We decided to make the Centre’s theses available as a coherent collection, with added features to help discovery and interpretation.

The collection should also be seen as a source for the history of history. At least two PhD’s supervised by W.G. Hoskins can be found here. Margaret SpuffordDavid Hey, and Michael Reed all became academic historians with distinguished careers. 

It is hoped that more material can be added to the collection to tell the story of English Local History at Leicester.

A note on the map

This site was built using Omeka, which has its own map plugin. This geo-locates items by place name. The map will only locate an item in one place. This means comparative studies cannot appear in two (or more) places at once. Some studies that did not have precise enough place names in the title do not appear on the map. 


William Farrell, University Library 

Richard Jones, Centre for English Local History