The Victoria County History

C.R.J. Currie celebrates the Victoria County History - a monument to the past that is looking forward confidently to the future.

When Parliament, in December 1996, debated what became the National Heritage Act of 1997, it added a clause to permit the Heritage Lottery Fund to support comprehensive works of reference about aspects of the national heritage. Among the few such works mentioned, the greatest prominence was given to the Victoria History of the Counties of England (VCH), and the fund’s trustees stated in December 1998 that they wished to help it progress. While the Act was in progress Hereford and Worcester County Council was developing its World Wide Web service. The page for the Worcestershire record office advises local historians seeking to use it: ‘Examine all relevant printed works first standard works such as the Victoria County History should be consulted’. The record office, in repeating advice which it had been giving orally for more than thirty years, thus took for granted the availability of a work whose completion both MPs of all parties and the Lottery trustees were seeking to encourage. It had not, though, perhaps anticipated that the Web might also be a suitable place for the text of the VCH to appear.

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