UWE historians link up with Wiltshire Council and Time Team

Issue date: 02 June 2009

Princess Anne sees progress on the Wiltshire VCH Historians from the University of the West of England have joined forces with the newly formed Wiltshire Council to produce further volumes in the prestigious Victoria County History series of town and parish histories. And further support is on the way from archaeologist Phil Harding of Time Team who will be appearing on 6 June in aid of the Wiltshire VCH Appeal Trust.

Phil's talk at Chippenham Town Hall will be on 'The Time Team and Wiltshire' on Saturday 6 June at 2.30 pm. Grants from the Appeal Trust and from the former Kennet District Council mean the public will soon have online access to twelve of the VCH Wiltshire volumes, containing town and parish histories.

The partnership with Wiltshire Council continues a link between UWE's History Department and Wiltshire's local authorities which began in 2004. Virginia Bainbridge, county editor of the Wiltshire VCH said, “We are delighted that this partnership will continue under the new Council.

“It has enabled us to continue our role as the main national provider of high quality information on Wiltshire's history in a variety of formats, books, web-sites, talks and consultancy, and to involve members of local communities more actively in researching their own history. Volume 18 of the VCH has been completed, and work has begun on volume 19.”

Virginia has devised a programme of research for the next five years. Volume 19 will be on the Longleat estate and parishes in the Upper Wylye Valley. She said, “I am keen to find local volunteers to collect ephemera and undertake some research. I and Alex Craven, assistant editor, are currently researching the history of Brixton Deverill parish.”

The VCH team is based in the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, opened in 2007 by Princess Anne. The state of the art building, near Chippenham railway station, houses Wiltshire and Swindon archives and local studies collections as well as other heritage services under one roof. The building was highly commended by SCALA (Society of Architects of Local Authorities) in 2008 in the Civic Building of the Year awards and welcomes over 20,000 users a year.

Tom Craig, Heritage Manager from Wiltshire Council said, “ Local history has so many benefits - understanding and enjoying the roots of your community can be both good fun and the starting point and resource for many other activities, so we welcome this renewed partnership between Wiltshire Council and the University of West of England.”

Editor's notes

· For more information on the lecture by Phil Harding contact John Hurley of the VCH Appeal Trust on jbhurley@supanet.com. The Trust supports a bursary scheme for postgraduate research on the history of Wiltshire which is currently funding research into the Wiltshire Silk Industry from 1750-1900. This summer the Trustees will be offering a second bursary to study an aspect of Wiltshire history.

· Work on the Wiltshire VCH began in 1947 and is funded jointly by Wiltshire Council and the University of the West of England. The Victoria County History of England was founded in 1899 and dedicated to Queen Victoria. Almost 250 volumes of this local history encyclopaedia are now published, containing the history of English parishes from earliest times to the present. Based at the Institute of Historical Research in the University of London since 1933, the books are written by historians working in counties across England.

For more information visit http://www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/Wiltshire Wiltshire VCH can be accessed at London University's British History On-line website www.british-history.ac.uk http://www.history.ac.uk

· In 2005 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the VCH £3.5m nationally to set up its England's Past for Everyone project. EPE is working with local communities to produce a series of 15 paperback books, an interactive website and learning resources for schools. For more information visit http://www.EnglandsPastForEveryone.org.uk

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