Publications & Projects

A stack of the 'Big Red Books', the flagship publication of the VCH

Founded in 1899 and dedicated to Queen Victoria, the VCH is an encyclopaedic record of England’s places and people from earliest times to the present day. It is without doubt the greatest publishing project in English local history, having built an international reputation for scholarly standards. Based at the Institute of Historical Research since 1933, the VCH is written by historians working in counties across England and published in a series of  ‘big red books’ by Boydell and Brewer for the University of London. For a full list of titles and their contents click here.  

Over 150 of those titles are now available online at

Since 2000 the VCH has involved volunteers in 10 different counties in researching the history of their own localities, from the city of Sunderland to the Cornish fishing villages of Newlyn and Mousehole. As a result of that work, assisted by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the VCH  produced 15 local history studies in paperback (the England's Past for Everyone series published by Phillimore), the Explore website, as well as the Learnin