How many of Leicester’s
professors have had a plaque set up on the house where they were born? The
answer probably is ‘only one’, namely William Hoskins, a founder member of
the Department of English Local History.
Hoskins came to the
University College of Leicester in 1931 as a Lecturer in Commerce, but he
dispelled the tedium of lecturing on trade statistics by evening teaching to
enthusiastic audiences at Vaughan College, on topics in local history and
While in Leicester he researched pioneering papers on a wide range of historical specialisms which have subsequently flourished - on historical demography, urban history, agrarian history, the evolution of vernacular architecture, landscape history and local history.
was a prolific author. His books ranged
from The Making of the English Landscape, which inspired a television
series and led to his being championed by the Green Movement, to The Age of
Plunder, about Henry VIII, in which he attacked bureaucrats. He was also a
writer of popular historical guide books where he expressed strongly-held
opinions on building and landscapes.
The plaque (pictured above) is on the wall of his home in Exeter, where his father was a baker. The urban history of Exeter features in Professor Hoskins' writings, along with a great number of other books on Devon.
After the unveiling
ceremony, there was a celebration of his life
attended by dignitaries from county, city and cathedral. Among the speakers
was Professor Harold Fox, Professor of Social and Landscape History in the
University’s School of Historical Studies, who gave a talk on Hoskins’s
work and life in Leicestershire.
Last updated: 16 February 2004 15:00
Maintained by: Barbara Whiteman
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