Course details

Getting Started with Local History (254)


Tutor: Joe Saunders


This course provides the knowledge and skills required to enable students to get started on a local history project.

Local history is the study of a place through time. It considers people and place together so that we study human stories within their physical contexts. Local history helps you better understand localities that are important to you, the lives of individuals who lived within them and the regional, national and global tapestries which these places are a piece of.

The close geographical attention of local history enables us to look at all manner of themes over hundreds if not thousands of years. For this reason, there is a vast range of source material for the local historian to use and almost endless stories for us to tell.

Whilst some choose to focus on local history research as a separate project, local history is embedded within many other types of historical research. For example, you cannot study the history of a community without considering the place in which that community resides, and a One-Place Study is also a form of local history research. Even if you are primarily a family historian and you have expanded your search of the census to others in the same street or village, you are already carrying out local history research.

This course has been developed with the British Association for Local History (BALH), the national body for local history. It is aimed at any local historian looking for inspiration and advice though it will especially appeal to those of you who have recently started or would like to start researching local history. It will introduce you to local history as a subject and discusses key skills and sources to help you with your research. The focus will be on modern British history from c.1780 to the present day. Two-and-a-half centuries of phenomenal social change and the period most familiar to the family historian. We will review important topics within the context of local history and the sources with which you can carry out your independent research. At the end of this course you will be able to confidently embark on your local history research from the Industrial Revolution to the present day.

At the end of this course students will be able to:
* Explain key themes and sources for local history research in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
* Understand important skills and methods for local history.
* Create a research plan for a local history project.
* Use a variety of sources to progress your local history research.

Students will be given the opportunity to work on a local history project of their choosing during the course.

Lesson Headings:
  • * Introduction to Local History
  • * Local history in the Victorian era c.1780-1900
  • * Modern Local History c.1900-Present
  • * Local History skills and methods

Each lesson includes exercises and activities and a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

Relevant Countries: England and Wales

Course Length: 4 weeks
Start Date:   2022
Cost: £52
Start Date Available Soon
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