Victoria County History (VCH)

VICTORIA COUNTY HISTORY (VCH)

WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED AND WHAT WE STILL HAVE TO DO

Cumbria County History Trust (CCHT) is the body which supports the research done in Cumbria under the Victoria County History (VCH).   Angus Winchester, who oversees this work in Cumbria, described the history of the VCH and the present research in Cumbria.

He explained how the initial private publishing of the research, commenced in 1897 Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, was focussed on the aristocracy and clergy with topics such as natural history, monastic houses and forestry.   The research done was in the Public Record Office in London as there were no local record offices.

The focus on local history changed in the mid 20th century with economics, community and social history taking the place of landowners and the clergy, and this was mirrored in the VCH research. Local authorities took over the funding and local record offices were opened.

The county of Lancashire including Furness and Cartmel was completed prior to 1914 with 8 volumes published, Cumberland had 2 volumes and Westmorland none. As the local authority funding collapsed early this century Cumbria now leads the way in using volunteers for research. From approximately 350 villages/townships in Cumbria, 35 have ongoing research. There is still much to do and the CCHT is always looking for volunteers.

Barbara Copeland

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