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School is one of the UK's leading centres for historical research and scholarship

The establishment of the new School of Historical Studies on January 1 2003 marked a further stage in the development of Leicester of one of the United Kingdomís leading centres for historical research and scholarship.  [Photo: School of Historical Studies' launch]
CENTRE FOCUS: Left to right: Professor Geoffrey Crossick, Chief Executive, Arts and Humanities Research Board, Dr Peter Musgrave, Head of School of Historical Studies, and Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Burgess, pictured at the official launch of the School of Historical Studies.

The new School incorporates the Departments of History and Economic & Social History (which since 2000 had included the Department (now Centre) of English Local History.

History has always been one of Leicesterís specialities; it was one of the first subjects taught in the University College in the 1920s and, in that period, produced one of Leicesterís best-known alumni, Sir John Plumb, who went on to be one of Britainís most popular historians (and the tutor of Simon Schama!) and Master of Christís College Cambridge.  

In 1948, the University College established a completely new type of unit, the (graduate) Department of English Local History, led, in the first instance by W G Hoskins, who is still one of the most widely read historians of the twentieth century.  

In 1964, the, by then, University of Leicester took a further innovatory step, by creating the department of Economic History, one of the first in the country, under the leadership of Ralph Davis. Coming as it did out of the Economics Department, Economic & Social History was based in the Faculty of the Social Sciences.

The existence of the three departments, each with their strong teaching and research cultures, indicates the great strength of historical studies at Leicester.  

However, it also became clear that the dispersal of so many historians amongst so many units prevented the development of further new and exciting developments which would become more possible within a single unit. In 1998 the Departments came together in a confederal unit and the final union of 2003 marks the completion of a process which has been going on over many years, rather than a sudden reorganisation.

The new School is one of the largest in the United Kingdom, with more than 30 members of academic staff and 10 members of research staff. It teaches more than 1,000 students and has a thriving and growing postgraduate and research community based in the Marc Fitch Historical Institute at Salisbury Road.  Proposals for a new and exciting curriculum and for research projects are already being developed within the School. The School intends to become recognised as one of the leading centres of excellence in Historical Studies in the United Kingdom.

Dr Peter Musgrave

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Last updated: 18 December 2003 15:30
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