VCH Shropshire re-launched


More than 200 people attended the re-launch of the Victoria County History (VCH) of Shropshire on Saturday October 31 at University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS), Shrewsbury. Since 2002 the VCH has not been active locally in Shropshire. The first volume of a two-volume history of Shrewsbury was published in the familiar red book form last year and was organised by VCH Central Office and achieved largely through the voluntary work of experienced local historians with the assistance of the Marc Fitch Fund. Professor Richard Hoyle said: “The interest created by the publication in summer 2014 of VCH Shropshire VI, Shrewsbury part 1, suggested that the moment was ripe to canvass support for the re-establishment of VCH in the county after a decade or more largely in abeyance. This support was forthcoming and a committee has been formed to take the project forward.’

The Shropshire re-launch event featured an introductory talk by Professor Richard Hoyle, Director and General Editor of the VCH and two further lectures were presented. The first by Professor Keith Lilley from Queen’s University Belfast, entitled ‘The Forms and Formation of Medieval Towns of the Marches’, explored the urban forms and landscapes of the frontier town of the Welsh Marches, drawing on the work of Conzen, Slater as well as his own findings based on the analysis of town plans using Geographical Information Systems (GIS), with special attention being paid to Bridgnorth and Ludlow in Shropshire. The second was by well-known local historian and patron of VCH Shropshire, Dr Barrie Trinder, entitled ‘Shropshire Market Towns since 1660’. He gave a useful overview of the potential for future thematic studies of the market towns of Shropshire and his lecture was illustrated with photographs of historic buildings from throughout the county. VCH Shropshire spokesman, Nigel Hinton added, “It was wonderful to see so many people at the Shropshire re-launch event for England’s greatest community history project.”

The aim is for the Victoria County History of Shropshire to be a collaborative community project that will research and write the histories of all parts of Shropshire, within the framework and standards of the Victoria County History series. It is returning to Shropshire to foster public knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the history and heritage of the county. A new county committee has been formed and a company limited by guarantee is seeking funding from charitable trusts and sponsors to enable work to recommence and continue into the future. VCH Shropshire will play a leading role in the public dissemination of the county’s history and heritage through the provision of substantial works of reference. It will also organise an annual lecture, study days and community history events, helping to sustain local historical groups and societies.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the project is very welcome to attend a volunteering event on Saturday 27 February (2-4pm) at Shropshire Archives and a study day is being organised with the Friends of Shropshire Archives for Sunday 26 June. Working in partnership with Shropshire Archives, VCH Shropshire will encourage a variety of volunteering initiatives, assisting and supporting research into the parishes of Shropshire. The project has space and roles for many more supporters – as volunteer researchers and fundraisers for example - and invites anyone who feels committed to the revival of VCH Shropshire to join the county committee. Plans are well advanced for the publication of a VCH Short (a single place study) on the north Shropshire market town of Wem, which it is intended will be published in the spring of 2017. The next red book will be on Newport and the Weald Moors and it is hoped to be able to produce a red book on Ludlow and its environs.

The committee would be interested in hearing from individuals and groups who would like to consider contributing to, or commissioning single place studies for the VCH shorts series or red books. For more information about the new Victoria County History of Shropshire project please contact: VCH Shropshire c/o Shropshire Archives, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 2AQ. Email: Follow the project on Twitter: Website: