Project: Funded Project › Research
1/10/12 → …
A community local history project, involving over 90 volunteers working under supervsion from Lancaster University towards creating parish histories for the Victoria County History (VCH), the leading national work of reference for local history.
Starting from scratch
No VCH topographical volumes have been published for the historic counties of Cumberland and Westmorland; the only parts of Cumbria to have been researched in detail by the VCH are the Furness and Cartmel areas, which were formerly in Lancashire and are covered in VCH Lancashire, Volume VIII (published in 1910). So, for the bulk of the county the VCH Cumbria project, launched in 2010, is starting from scratch. .
Organisation and funding
The project is being organised by the Cumbria County History Trust (Charity No. 1137379), a charitable association established in 2010 to further the VCH in Cumbria. Trustees include representatives of a wide range of bodies interested in promoting history and heritage in the county. The Trust has raised funds from subscriptions and local sources to enable the University to employ a Volunteer Coordinator on a part-time basis and to mount a programme of tailor-made training events for VCH volunteers in Cumbria.
The project is run from the Department of History at Lancaster University, under the direction of Dr Angus Winchester, who is acting as County Editor, and the Volunteer Coordinator, Dr Sarah Rose.
Guided by the Volunteer Coordinator, more than 90 individuals from the local history community in Cumbria have embarked on essential groundwork for the project. Initial tasks included compiling population figures for every parish and township in Cumberland and Westmorland from 1801 to 2001; preparing bibliographies of published work on individual places; and undertaking preliminary research. In 2012 they have undertaken a structured programme of research in key sources to compile brief digests of historical data for every community in Cumbria, to provide county-wide coverage of historical data at a basic level, on which future work towards VCH parish histories can build. Key data on administrative status, acreage, population, landholding, economic activity, places of worship and schools are now avaialble on the project website.
Since the summer 2011, a smaller core of volunteers has started detailed research on a number of parishes to make a start on drafting full VCH parish histories. As drafts are completed, these are being posted on the project website while volunteers move on to research further parishes.