Shropshire

Since 2002 there has been no VCH office active locally in the county. The first part of Shropshire VI: Shrewsbury, comprising the chronological history of the town, was published in 2014. This been achieved largely through the voluntary work of Bill Champion, Barrie Trinder, Barbara Coulton, Richard Holt, Nigel Baker, Robert and the late Dorothy Cromarty, with assistance from the Marc Fitch Fund. For an online review of Shrewsbury part one, with some comments about how the VCH might develop see: http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/1754. A second part with themes such as the town walls and castle, the religious life of individual parishes, common lands, and charities, will follow. The authors include Nigel Baker, Robert and the late Dorothy Cromarty, W.A. Champion and Barrie Trinder. We are grateful to the Marc Fitch Fund for their generous support.

The interest created by the publication of Shropshire VI: Shrewsbury, suggested that it was timely to consider the relaunch of the Victoria County History in Shropshire after a decade or more largely in abeyance. A meeting held at Shropshire Archives on 2 May 2015 attracted a large group in attendance who were adamant that a new county committee should be established. An excellent committee has come together with Professor Richard Hoyle acting as interim chairman, Dr James Bowen of the University of Liverpool as secretary and Nigel Hinton, as treasurer. Other committee members include Mary Mckenzie, Shropshire Archives’ team leader, Dr Tim Jenkins, Shropshire Council’s heritage project manager, representatives of local historical societies including the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society and the Shropshire Parks and Gardens Trust, as well as individuals with a wide range of interests and skills. It has met regularly and gone a long way to devising a strategy for the revival of the county. A company namely Victoria County History (Shropshire) Ltd. has been registered in England and Wales (number 09722021) to support the new project and it is intended to apply for charitable status.

The first outcome of all the planning that is currently going on will be a public launch event at the Guildhall in Shrewsbury on Saturday 31 October starting at 2pm when Dr Keith Lilley of Queen’s University Belfast and Dr Barrie Trinder will speak on aspects of the history of the market towns of Shropshire. Thereafter we hope to have a whole range of funding raising occasions, but moreover, our publication programme includes the second volume on Shrewsbury in late 2016 or 2017, a VCH ‘Short’ on Wem, a rural market town in north Shropshire in late 2016 and the revival of work on Bradford Hundred in the north-east of the county to resume where the former VCH staff left off a decade ago. In parallel with this there have been discussions with the Ludlow Historical Research Group and we very much hope that they will join with VCH to produce a red book volume on Ludlow. We hope to have a launch meeting there early in 2016.

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