Local history and national history, 1880–1945
in Writing local history
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This chapter illustrates local and national history between 1880 and 1945. During this time, the subject matter of local history was recognised either as national history at the local level or the study of places through their economic history. Professional historians saw themselves researching and writing the history of the nation from the public records. Their interest in local history went only as far as searching for suitable examples to illustrate national history. The Public Record Office was their laboratory, and the English Historical Review was their scholarly journal. Local history stagnated intellectually, and its flag was kept fluttering only through the local societies. It was not until after the Second World War the great majority of counties had a record office, and it was only when a new range of material became available that local history took on new dimensions and began to escape the stigma with which it had been cursed since the late nineteenth century.

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