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[Photo: Hoskins plaque] Plaque commemorates birthplace of eminent historian  

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 archaeology. 

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.

He 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.

Harold Fox 

The Englishness of W G Hoskins

On Friday, April 23 (St George's Day), Professor Rob Colls, Professor of English History, School of Historical Studies, gives the Vaughan Historical and Archaeological Society's W G Hoskins Lecture, The Englishness of W G Hoskins, at Vaughan College, St Nicholas Circle, Leicester. Visitors are welcome to attend the lecture, a small fee is charged. New members are welcome - for further information contact Ted Humphreys on 0116 247 7898 or Gerry Stacey on 01455 636 686.

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Last updated: 16 February 2004 15:00
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