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William George Hoskins (1908—1992) historian of the English landscape


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Leicester University Centre for English Local History

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Founded in 1948 as the Department of English Local History with W. G. Hoskins as reader and sole member, it quickly became a unique postgraduate department concerned with the comparative study of local history throughout the whole of England. As such, it is different from the various centres of local history which have been set up at other English universities. Its subsequent heads have been H. P. R. Finberg, Hoskins for a second term, Alan Everitt, Charles Phythian‐Adams, and Christopher Dyer. Other leading scholars in the subject, notably Joan Thirsk and Margaret Spufford, have been associated with it and it now has well over a hundred postgraduates. Asa Briggs's reference to its members as ‘The Leicester School of local historians, scattered though they are’ was an acknowledgement of common approaches and interests which have led to considerable academic advances in the subject. The instrument for publicizing the new approaches was a series of occasional papers (1952–91) and monographs published by Leicester University Press. An important new venture in 1965 was the launch of the English Surnames Survey under Richard McKinley. A generous grant from the Marc Fitch Fund in 1989 allowed the purchase of Marc Fitch House in Salisbury Road, including an extensive and valuable library. Centre for English Local History.

Subjects: History

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