Local History as an Approach and a Methodology

Local History as an Approach and a Methodology: A Personal View

This is the first of a couple of assignments I shall post that were written for Keele University as a part of my History MRes (Master of Research) degree. It is an academic essay, so not for the faint-hearts.


Over past weeks I have attended a series of seminars for the ‘Approaches to Historical Research’ module which forms a part of the Master of Research (History) degree. The course aims to imbue students with an understanding of how to approach, research and write ‘history’, prior to them undertaking a dissertation on an agreed topic.

The purpose of this assignment, as agreed with my supervisor, is reflect on my own personal experiences as a ‘history professional’ to analyse how that dissertation will be approached. This assignment is arranged in three parts: the first part looks at my personal experiences to explain my place within the subject and why I have the approach to history that I do; the second part is what I believe historical research is, and how to undertake it, while the third part will look at the sub-methodologies I aim to employ within the dissertation, and why.

Looking at the Historian: A Personal Approach to History

In order to appreciate the approach, philosophy and methodology that any historian adopts then you need to, as E.H. Carr puts it, ‘[s]tudy the historian before you study the facts’.[1] All people are subject to all kinds of influences, social and political for example, throughout their lives and these influences can be embraced or rejected. With historians, these influences, even unwittingly, can find their way into the historian’s work: Richard Evans wrote in his introduction to Carr’s ‘What is History?’, that Carr himself ‘approached history from the angle of someone that had spent his life working in the Foreign Office’.[2] Of my experiences, two have been so outstanding that they have really shaped my views over the last twenty years on what history is and how I personally execute it through, what would be popularly termed, as being a ‘local historian’.

I would like to proffer an explanation as to what local history is. Traditionally, local history is considered a subject in its own right (encompassed by history as a whole, of course): for this, the intention would be that the focus of study is to remain in a local context – for example, studying the Zeppelin raid on Walsall in 1916 with little or no reference to Zeppelin raids outside of this. I, however, see it as a methodology, in that I use a local model to examine wider questions – so, Walsall’s Zeppelin experience would be placed into context with Zeppelin raids on Britain as a whole. I return to this in part three.

As a subject, Kate Tiller’s explanation is that it ‘has two essential ingredients – people and place… [i]n other words local history is primary about the origin and growth of community, about how, why and when local communities changed’.[3] Tosh calls it a ‘kind of in-depth microcosmic social history’.[4] I think both are right, but they are both modern, professional historians’ views, and as Tosh admits, ‘local history has until relatively recently been disdained by academic historians’.[5]  I believe that the genre is far more encompassing of other pursuits, such as archaeology and topography as well as of the amateur status of the historians that undertake it, than their descriptions suggest.

Academic history as a discipline ‘grew up’ in the later nineteenth century.[6] The purpose of this professional and ‘intellectual class… was a desire that history should serve the needs of the nation state in producing national histories’.[7] Yet, at the same time, predominantly gentlemen amateurs, retired Major-General George Wrottesley for one, were forming local antiquarian, archaeological and historical societies, the local William Salt Society being an example, which published its research and translations documents in volumes under the title of the ‘Staffordshire Historical Collections’.

The academic interest in local history grew with the formation of a Department of Local History at Leicester University, under the auspices of W.G. Hoskins, in 1948.[8] Hoskins had been at the University before the Second World War. It is interesting that the books that Hoskins then penned were still ‘written for the great army of amateurs in this field’,[9] for he believed that local history, unlike national history, could provide personal and individual meaning’.[10] The amateur hobbyist was still the target for Dunning in the 1970s and 1980s,[11] as well as Kate Tiller in the 1990s.

Academic attitude towards local historians has changed since the days of Hoskins, although not toward the original pioneers – whom are viewed anachronistically. Instead of being seen as a product of their time (especially the antiquarian), producing a version of history, which may amount to little more than a chronicle of events, for a target audience of people like themselves, they are dismissed as self-indulgent and irrelevant.[12] Actually, the William Salt Society made documents available for later local historians. Now, with an increasing number of universities are offering a range of courses from undergraduate diplomas to Master’s level, as well as the availability of professionally written books and articles, academic historians are raising the standard of the amateur.

The motivating factors behind this are primary ideological: one is the growth of the postmodernist movement, which rejects the ‘grand narrative’ of macro-history – that there can be anything like an overarching political history of Britain, for example – as they believe, through linguistics, in a myriad of interpretations possible from a single source. [13] This doesn’t mean they advocate local history, as the same philosophy stands for that, but it was a challenge to the ‘national’ approach of the likes of E.H. Carr and his ‘A History of Soviet Russia’.

A second factor has been the evolving nature of the study of history. The 1960s saw a deeper collaboration with other humanities subjects and further movement into social and cultural history, and I look at their impact on my methods later, led by historians such as those from the Annales School in France. Tosh feels that the current ‘vitality’ in history is down to this change.[14] The history of ordinary people has effected a bit of a renaissance within the local studies: [15] a look through Alan Rogers’ book will show sections on urbanisation and the working population, for example, which were anathema to antiquarians.[16]

It was Hoskins’ belief in ‘personal meaning’, be that nostalgia or a natural curiosity, that drew me to local history in the first place; and this is where my first experience comes in. Hoskins’ works did not revolve around the practice of history, they took in an eclectic range of subjects to investigate a physical landscape: archaeology, topography, genealogy and architecture, for example.[17] My educational background is equally as eclectic and so I felt that I could make better use of it through local studies. Further, in a move away from grand narratives that postmodernists would respect, I felt I could rouse an interest in my local community (through publicising articles I had written) that debating when the Delian League became the Athenian Empire could not do.[18]

I have accrued a number of qualifications over the past twenty years that include ancient history, modern history, academic archaeology and practical archaeology. My undergraduate degree was all based on ‘national’ history and archaeology, mainly ancient, however, the dissertation subject was free for me to choose. I elected to undertake an archaeological assessment of Roman Penkridge (Pennocrucium), as this allowed me to utilise my practical archaeological experience, through fieldwork rather than excavation, but also to sate a curiosity about a local landscape that I knew contained features, but I did not know what, where or how they related to each other.[19]

When I took my degree I was in the process of changing career. My interest predominantly being fuelled by my practical archaeological qualification, my last degree, prior to my professional one, was a Master’s degree in Local History. By the time I had completed that degree I had broken into the heritage field. I then completed my professional degree in 2005 and became a qualified archivist. It is that professional experience that is the second great influence on how I approach history.

There are different types of archive repository although all collect, maintain and make available what Jordanova would describe as primary sources: ‘[p]rimary sources are taken to be original documents, raw materials, direct evidence’.[20] Mostly, repositories are based upon geographical areas, so the Staffordshire County Record Office exists to preserve the records of the County Council, although it is empowered to take in any records it considers worth preserving for the geographical area of the county. This geographical link means that the relationship between the archivist and the local historian is very close.

The role of the archivist is to effect physical, intellectual and legal control over the material in their care: this entails cataloguing a collection. That catalogue will identify each record, explain what the record is, what it should tell the user and place it into context within the collection. Through cataloguing archivists get to understand the primary records in their care, and how to exploit them. For me, this means if I want to study local history I can do so from primary material.

Part of my role at Walsall Local History Centre was to write articles of local interest, which could be placed into the local landscape and would often be inspired by little accessed primary sources within the archive. The articles would also be made relevant to contemporary issues – disability for example. One source I used was the Coroner’s inquests, when I looked at the deaths of soldiers while at the Cannock Chase training camps during the Great War. The source knowledge is also transferable: even with retention schedules the survival of records can still be a matter of luck, so when I needed to take my studies to Stafford Record Office I knew the inquests did not survive, and so I had to find surrogate alternatives through newspapers.

To conclude, I was pulled towards local history through curiosity and the relationship of what was on my doorstep to national history. My diverse academic qualifications are supported by the encompassing nature of the subject. Finally, I became an archivist by profession; there is often a link between the archivist and the local historian due to the geographic nature of repositories. The role also supports understanding of the locality and wider source network due to the practice of cataloguing and other use of the records in the archivist’s care. This source network promotes the methodology of comparative local history,

Fact or Fiction: A Personal View on Researching History

My archival experience has also affected my view on the philosophical approach to the writing of history. While philosophy is important for the study of systemic approaches, including to history, again, I am less swayed by approaches advocated by a single or school of academic historians than I am through what I feel I have understood from my own experiences. The important philosophical question I want to approach, as it is at the heart of the way I undertake historical research, is the debate over empiricism: that is the balance between objectivity and subjectivity within history.

For my dissertation I will be using predominantly primary sources. In archive circles there is an acceptance that the public would much rather look at an original parish register for example, as this is seen as more ‘pure’, more factual, than even if they were using a copy on microfilm. I don’t use primary sources because they are more ‘factual’, I use them as I know more about them.

I am required as a part of the cataloguing process to compile an ‘administrative history’ of the depositing body of the records. In their Manual for Archival Description, Cook and Proctor believe that its purpose can be as in-depth a history as time will permit, but it must define key events in the life of the individual or organisation to which the records belong: ‘[f]or persons, the information needed usually includes dates of birth and death, place of birth, successive places of domicile, occupations or offices, [changes of name], significant accomplishments, place of death’.[21]

To an empiricist like Elton, events such as the date of birth are objective ‘facts of history’ – they happened – and are independent from their use by a historian.[22]  To an anti-empiricist like E.H. Carr, such facts don’t exist until they are used by a historian,[23] while they would likely be classed by postmodernist Keith Jenkins as ‘discrete facts’, and while acknowledging they are important, he calls them ‘trite within the larger issues’.[24]

Jenkins gives his examples of these ‘discrete facts’ at the highest national and public conscious level: Margaret Thatcher taking office in 1979 and the ‘so-called Great War… happened between 1914 and 1918’.[25] Carr tackles the issue of object facts by dismissing it: using the Battle of Hastings as an equally obvious example, he too stresses that such facts are actually not what the historian is concerned with and ‘when points of this kind are raised… to praise a historian for his accuracy is like praising an architect for using well-seasoned timber’.[26]

What Carr and Jenkins are saying is that objective facts in themselves are only important when the historian tries to interpret them, and it is that interpretation (asking the how? and why?) that is the most important – however, these objective facts appear to be what starts a process of interpretation, so I am not sure how the stimulus to such debate can be classed as ‘trite’. It is an objective fact that Walsall was bombed by Zeppelins in 1916 and I have subjective accounts of the event, and there are several wider interpretations as to why Walsall was targeted. Alternatively, Bourton-on-the-Water wasn’t attacked by Zeppelins; this is also an objective fact, but as it wasn’t special there is no interpretation of it – if there were, this could be considered ‘trite’.

Objective facts lead to interpretation, but also interpretation leads to objective fact. I worked on the case of soldier who died during the Great War but had no war grave, and nor did he appear on the regimental roll of honour.[27] It transpired that he had been shot in the head and it had took him a year to die in an asylum – by which time he had been discharged from the army. His medical record survives and states he was suffering from a terminal condition prior to being shot, but this condition was ‘exacerbated by his war service’. This was a medical opinion, yet the Commonwealth War Graves Commission took this as a ‘fact’ and have now took responsibility for his grave and erected a headstone. The relationship between fact and interpretation is far from ‘trite’.

Reading Elton, he advocates entering into research without any preconceptions (or if you have them, then you rise above them) and to accrue, interpret and formulate an honest and objective understanding of the past based on what the historian extracts from those sources.[28] I have sympathy with the practical approach and the honesty, but I question if the historian, or indeed the sources, can be so impartial.

Carr believes that history is subjective and that all history comes ‘refracted through the minds of the recorder’,[29] while postmodernists (poststructuralist) like Jenkins, believe that ‘[h]istory is a language game; within it ‘truth’ and similar expressions… act as a censor… [w]e know that such truths are really ‘useful fictions’ that are in discourse by virtue of power (somebody has to put and keep them there)’.[30] This means that everything ever written, primary or secondary sources, is subjective and therefore no true understanding can be gained and, yet, all agree that objective (discrete) facts exist.

I have sympathy with this subjective view: instructions were given by the Education Authority to head-teachers as what to include in the school log book, yet, four cases from schools for the day after the Zeppelin raid on Walsall, give four slightly different accounts – this is because, while they have instructions, they remain independent people that saw an ‘objective fact’ in their own way. All four teachers mention the raid, not because of the actual event, but because of the affect it had on the school attendance. Three teachers gave a specific attendance level, two mentioned the emotional reactions of the children and one mentioned that there were actually bombs dropped. In short, the same theoretical record, but four interpretations.

Carr also believes that it is impossible to view the past as we all see everything through contemporary eyes.[31] I also have some sympathy with this view, but I feel that we compare our understandings of both rather than it being impossible. I catalogued a family collection, where I used in an exhibition a letter from the Walsall Co-operative to the 14 year-old Nellie Jamieson that invited her to an interview for the post of a Tobacconist’s Assistant with the company.[32] The point was to encourage placing the document into the world of 1938 (which they did through what it contained) and into 2016 (through personal experience) and think over the differing attitudes towards tobacco and child labour within that time. This worked, yet one visitor (she was of similar age to Nellie) was shocked not about the tobacco, but that the interview was at six o’clock in the evening on 13 January – as it would be pitch black and her own mother would not let her go outside alone. This demonstrates that people can not only interpret but completely approach sources in a different way.

I agree with Elton in that I find and use sources to create an honest narrative of events; I also agree with Carr that the blending of objective fact and subjective account means that honesty is reflected only in initially convincing myself. Approaching research this way would seem that I disagree with the more extreme postmodernist view that, as Tosh puts it, historians ‘do not uncover the past; they invent it. And the time-honoured distinction between fact and fiction is blurred’.[33] Yet, I do have sympathy with the postmodernist approach, as I am far from convinced it is as pessimistic a view of history as it can be perceived by some historians: words like ‘invent’ and ‘create’ can be perceived as inflammatory as sources, however subjective, are based on real events and the use and perception of such language leads to acrimonious debate.[34]

Natalie Zemon Davis describes her own work as ‘part my invention’.[35] This is a curious phrase. If Davis is a postmodernist, and she is, then all her work is an invention and the phrase need not be used in the first place; if she is not, then ‘part invention’ indicates that she has still undertaken a path of investigation and interpretation and it is only through lacunae that a leap of faith is taken. Davis, therefore, as a postmodernist, still believes in ‘history’ and method: ‘for a manuscript… [i]’m not slighting the actual content and the world of reference it brings with it.  That’s clearly the core activity that the historian follows up with as much research and imagination as she/he can’.[36]

I hope, to conclude, that I have demonstrated objective facts, and how sources can be both subjective and interpreted differently. I believe the relationship of objective fact and interpretation is symbiotic; they depend on each other. Historical sources sought out and made use of by historians were predominantly created to record an event – be that a land transaction or a Zeppelin raid – and I will use objective and subjective evidence (of events that have occurred) in order to look for what I feel is the dominant narrative – very much as though in a court of law – to first satisfy myself, then to proffer as a credible interpretation to the reader.

Local History Methodologies: Comparative versus Micro-history

I think it is very difficult to write ‘history’ with a single approach – as in my experience it is really a blend of methods in which some are more dominant than others and some can be evident in just a few lines of text. I am concerned with the macro-themes, as these are conscious choices, but need to acknowledge that methodologies can be ascribed to work, or parts of work, that were never intended, unwitting, or accidental.

I am not unashamed to say that I have produced what I call mini-biographies of soldiers that are predominantly chronicles of the lives, this is because the primary audience for these were the villagers on whose war memorial these men appeared. If we return to the anonymous soldier for a moment, his death certificate states he died from general paralysis, without mention of his war wound, and that no post mortem was carried out. Methodologically I interpreted his cause of death ‘against the grain, it should have read ‘general paralysis of the insane’ as the doctor knew he died from syphilis; the no post-mortem, it could be argued, was actually ‘counterfactual’ and that the doctor carried out the post-mortem in his mind and proceeded no further, for if one had been carried out then the case had to go to a coroner’s inquest, which would have been embarrassing for the widow and family.

This example also serves to highlight two of the major influences in my work, which are social history and cultural history.

Karl Marx had a profound effect on approaches to social history, especially during the post-Second World War period as Stalinist Russia’s influenced a generation of historians like E.P. Thompson.[37] Marx opened the door to the study of the lives of ordinary people and from it Thompson coined the phrase ‘history from below’ in 1966.[38] This approach also comes with a warning: if you study just people ‘from below’, then you get as an unequal a slant as if you study just the social elite. Understanding part of a society comes from encompassing all of that society.

For myself, I am very interested in ‘history from below’, with many of my articles reflecting the lives of ordinary people and the world in which they operated. While Tiller is right about ‘people and place’, it is Hoskins’ ‘personal meaning’ that is the key; these articles resonate with the local community (demonstrated through feedback left on-line) as not only do they identify more with such people, but with issues such as debt, alcohol, poverty and health that have inspired the pieces.[39]

While cultural history is nothing new, the Reverend Hindsley spoke to the Walsall Debating Society in 1920 on the unwritten history of ‘feeling, desire and purpose which pass over every human heart and mind’,[40] under the Annales School of the 1960s it began to emerge as a new discipline, like social history, being influenced by anthropology and psychology.[41] Cultural history, ‘in this context…is taken it indicate patterns of thought and understanding, modes of language, rituals of life, and ways of thinking.[42]

The school were looking to understand communities and their underlying structures over a period of time, which they believed had not only been researched (late medieval French peasantry, in this case) but they felt thought differently from today. The idea was to show what they termed as changing mentalities: one example is ‘Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie’s Montaillou. Using a cache of inquisitorial records… Ladurie reconstructed the households of the medieval village…. and discussed the villager’s views on love, sex, religion, death, work and magic.’[43]

Green and Troup reference the discussion that Annales thinking cannot be transposed to a ‘faster-paced modern societies where change is quick’.[44] I have sympathy with this view, as modern Britain is more ethnically diverse, with religious, political and social freedoms that were unknown in the medieval period, saying that, what is ‘fast-paced’ is subjective, so mid-Victorian Walsall could be considered little more advanced that medieval Walsall when it comes to education for example.

I have used cultural approaches with several articles I have written, and intend to use it within my dissertation. When used before, especially when looking at the attitudes to mental health, I sought to put the ‘mentality’ into context by placing individual cases into the wider context of asylum and social records.[45]

The postmodernist approach has seen a methodology arise, from 1970s Italy originally, termed ‘micro-history’. It is a way of intense study, confined to a small geographic area, to represent a larger whole – indeed, Montaillou is considered an example. István Szijártó describes it as ‘the flagship of contemporary social historians, taking over from historical anthropology, and being intertwined with new cultural history’.[46] As I like these three approaches, local, cultural and social, micro-history seems a perfect approach for me for my dissertation.

Szijártó underlines the popularity of the style – and proffers if it is just ‘ephemeral fashion or does this… give more to the reader than traditional social history?’[47] There is so much to commend the style: I like the fact it takes real, but ordinary, people and reconstructs their world and, through that, proponents in its use claim it addresses wider social questions. However, for my dissertation, I do have issues with it.

The first is functional: I use a similar approach for my populist articles, but I am not sure that such a relaxed style suits what has to be a piece that has to be presented in an academic style. This leads to my main issue: micro-history, like Davis’ previously mentioned ‘Return of Martin Guerre’, is written as a story, with a flowing narrative, and allows the author, without making a clear distinction between what is suggestion – which the author inserts into the narrative to maintain the continuity – and researched conclusions.[48] It seems to me that it is an academic rebranding of local history (and I would argue ‘micro-history’ appears more in the index of academic historiographies than ‘local history’ does), which also allows them the freedom to play under the postmodernist mantra. My approach to research and writing history, as demonstrated, requires a clear distinction.

Local history is a subject, but it is also a methodology if it is used as a vehicle to really study wider history – and this assignment is based on it being an overall method. One way all historians seek wider validation of their work is through comparisons. This can be at a high level – for example, Frederickson’s comparison of racial issues in America and South Africa – or it can be of more localised level – studying the effect of the Great War on schools by using several examples around the country, with Walsall just being one.

There are problems with comparative history: for it to work there has to be something to compare, some common element. E.H. Carr uses the example of World War Two and the Peloponnesian War, and while the weaponry and tactics would be very different, and the two are unique events, nevertheless they both have elements that can be compared – conflict causation driven by differing political systems (between Athens and Sparta and Russia and Germany), or the uses of scorched-earth policies by Sparta and Russia.[49]

Carr believes the aim of a comparative history is to discover generalisations,[50] so between the experiences of the schools through the Great War, for example, then how the schools coped with staffing shortages (as the men went to war), the use of teachers nationally for war work, school responses to fund raising campaigns for the war or even to the Spanish Flu. We must be careful with comparative history in that Carr’s point about uniqueness stands: no two schools are the same – there can be flagrant differences, such as an urban location compared to a rural one, or subtle ones, as even if two schools are adjacent and operated by the same Education Authority, then they are still under the auspices of teachers with different mind sets.

Comparisons are subjective, but not pointless. After all, what we are actually comparing is a dominant theory to another dominant theory, or fitting my dominant theory into somebody else’s construct. I will be comparing my dominant theory to the work of several cultural historians: Fussell, Wellington, Winter and Gregory, for example.

To conclude on methods, I have looked to convey how difficult it is to have a single approach and that any research is an obvious and subtle blend of methods. As a local historian I am interested in social history, as it really embraces the raison d’etre of the modern subject, but I also find the cultural view of war and sacrifice interesting and so I want to place my research on the display of war ordnance into the social and cultural story of Walsall and then into the comparative worlds of professional academics.


I was drawn to local history through my personal and professional experience. I see local history as a subject, or a methodology to study ‘history’ as a whole. As an archivist I have experienced both objective and subjective primary sources, and, in a blend of empiricism and postmodernism, I intend to use them to seek the dominant interpretation on the political, cultural and social approach to the display of war in Walsall. This will act as a comparison to see how Walsall’s experience can be judged against both other local places and also within wider cultural histories.[51]

[1] Carr, E. 2001. What Is History? With a New Introduction by Richard J Evans. Basingstoke: Palgrave p17

[2] Ibid pX

[3] Tiller, K. 1992. English Local History: An Introduction. Alan Sutton: Stroud p1. Kate Tiller was, at the time, a lecturer in Local History at Oxford University

[4] Tosh, J. 2015. The Pursuit of History: Aims, methods and new directions in the study of history. 6th Edition. Routledge: Oxford pp66-67

[5] Ibid

[6] Hobsbawm, E. 1997. On History. Wiedenfeld & Nicolson: London. p141.

[7] Arnold, J. 2000. History: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press: Oxford. p56.

[8] See https://le.ac.uk/english-local-history/about/history

[9] Hoskins, W. 1959. Local History in England. Longman: London. p3.

[10] Ibid p6

[11] Dunning, R. 1987. Local History for Beginners. Phillimore: Chichester

[12] Tosh, 2015. p25.

[13] Jordanova, L. History in Practice. 2nd Edition. Bloomsbury: London. pp77-80.

[14] Ibid. p53.

[15] ‘history from below’: Jordanova, L. 2012. p228.

[16] Rogers, A. 1977. Approaches to Local History. 2nd Edition. Longman: London

[17] Hoskins, W. 1977. The Making of the English Landscape. Book Club Associates: London and 1967. Fieldwork in Local History. Faber and Faber: London.

[18] Tosh, J. 2015. p168.

[19] Available through https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com

[20] Jordanova, L. 2012. p38.

[21] Cook, M. & Proctor, M. 2000. Manual of Archival Description. 3rd Edition. Gower: Aldershot. p75.

[22] Elton, G. 1967. The Practice of History. Fontana Press: London. p76.

[23] Carr, E. 2001. p7.

[24] Jenkins, K. 2003. Re-thinking History. Routledge: Oxford. p40.

[25] ibid

[26] Carr, E. 2001. p5.

[27] Private J, I mention the case later in the assignment but due to ethical reasons I don’t want to disclose his name or give document references.

[28] Green, A. & Troup, K. 1999. The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in the Twentieth-Century History and Theory. Manchester University Press: Manchester. pp1-10.

[29] Carr, E. 2001. p16.

[30] Jenkins, K. 2003. p39.

[31] Carr, E. 2001. p16.

[32] Walsall Local History Centre: Acc1268/3/3/1

[33] Tosh, J. 2015. p169.

[34] Tosh, J. 2015. pp170-171.

[35] Davis, N. 1983. The Return of Martin Guerre. Harvard University Press: London. p5.

[36] http://www.medievalists.net/2008/09/interview-with-natalie-zemon-davis/

[37] Green, A. & Troup, K. 1999. p32.

[38] Ibid p33.

[39] See https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com

[40] Walsall Observer. 13 Mar 1920. Unwitten History. p9.

[41] Arnold, J. 2000. p87.

[42] ibid

[43] Green, A. & Troup, K. 1999. p92.

[44] Ibid p93

[45] Driven to Despair series of articles: Available at https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/

[46] Szijártó, I. 2002. Four Arguments for Microhistory. Rethinking History: 6:2, Routlege: Oxford. p211

[47] ibid

[48] Davis’ part invention of the Martin Guerre story.

[49] Carr, E. 2001. pp56-60.

[50] ibid

[51] Local places include the experiences of places such as Cannock and wider studies take in the views of Tosh, Winter, Gregory and Wellington on war remembrance, for example.



I:I         Walsall Local History Centre: Essex Street, Walsall

Acc 55/11                    Bath Street Mixed School Log Book

Acc 55/22                    Centenary Wesleyan Boys School Log Book

Acc 55/30                    North Walsall School Log Book

Acc 734/1/2                Whitehall School Log Book

Acc 1268/3/3/1           Jamieson Family Collection


II:I        Newspapers

Walsall Local History Centre

Walsall Observer

II:II       Books

Arnold, J. 2000. History: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press: Oxford

Beresford, M. 1998. History on the Ground. Revised Edition. Alan Sutton: Stroud

Bloch, M. 1992. The Historian’s Craft. Manchester University Press: Manchester

Carr, E. 2001. What Is History? With a New Introduction by Richard J Evans. Palgrave: Basingstoke

Clanchy, M. 2001. From Memory to Written Record: England 1066-1307. 2nd Edition. Blackwell: Oxford

Cook, M. & Proctor, M. 2000. Manual of Archival Description. 3rd Edition. Gower: Aldershot

Davis, N. 1983. The Return of Martin Guerre. Harvard University Press: London

Dunning, R. 1987. Local History for Beginners. Phillimore: Chichester

Elton, G. 1967. The Practice of History. Fontana Press: London

Evans, R. 2018. In Defence of History. Granta Books: London

Green, A. & Troup, K. 1999. The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in the Twentieth-Century History and Theory. Manchester University Press: Manchester

Hobsbawm, E. 1997. On History. Wiedenfeld & Nicolson: London

Hoskins, W. 1959. Local History in England. Longman: London

Hoskins, W. 1967. Fieldwork in Local History. Faber and Faber: London

Hoskins, W. 1977. The Making of the English Landscape. Book Club Associates: London

Jenkins, K. 2003. Re-thinking History. Routledge: Oxford

Jordanova, L. 2012. History in Practice. 2nd Edition. Bloomsbury: London

Rogers, A. 1977. Approaches to Local History. 2nd Edition. Longman: London

Tiller, K. 1992. English Local History: An Introduction. Alan Sutton: Stroud

Tosh, J. 2015. The Pursuit of History: Aims, methods and new directions in the study of history. 6th Edition. Routledge: Oxford

II:III      Articles

Szijártó, I. 2002. Four Arguments for Microhistory. Rethinking History: 6:2, Routlege: Oxford pp209–215. Available at http://www.academia.edu/389079/Four_arguments_for_microhistory [Accessed 27 December 2018]

II:IIII     Websites/Online

https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com [Accessed 21 December 2018].

An interview with Natalie Zemon Davis. 2007. Available at http://www.medievalists.net/2008/09/interview-with-natalie-zemon-davis/ [Accessed 21 December 2018]