English Local History in the Institute of Historical Research Library

This collection is one of the Institute’s largest and, like the other collections within the library, is composed of published primary source material, bibliographies, archive guides and manuscript catalogues, as well as core reference monographs and periodicals, like the Victoria County History. Chronologically the remit of the collection covers from the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons to the present day, while topically it comprises of material from every sphere of England’s rural and urban past including architectural and archaeological resources of many specific sites.

As well as the ever-growing sub-collections on each of the English counties  - including the territories of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands - other particular strengths of the collection include an extensive collection of poll books from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the volumes published by the Victoria County History, a large collection of nineteenth and early twentieth century directories plus many early printed county histories in the folio section.







The Collection is subdivided as follows:

Bibliographies, Archive Guides and Historiography and Methodology (classmark BC.0)

Covering local history generally and by county

General Works (classmark BC.2)


  • Publications of the Victoria County History
  • Poll Books
  • Trade and Street Directories
  • Works on English toponymy as well as publications of the English Place Name Society

General Local History & Archaeology Journals (classmark BC.3)


  • Archaeologia
  • Journal of the British Archaeological Association
  • Local Population Studies
  • Vernacular Architecture

Regional Works (classmark BC.4)

Works covering regions of the UK, including publications from record societies such as:
      The Surtees Society
      The Chetham Society
      The Devon and Cornwall Record Society

English Counties and Other Areas (classmark BC.5-9)


BC.51  Bedfordshire
BC.52  Berkshire
BC.53  Buckinghamshire
BC.54  Cambridgeshire
BC.55  Cheshire
BC.56  Cornwall
BC.57  Cumbria
BC.58  Derbyshire
BC.59  Devon
BC.60  Dorset
BC.61  Durham (County)
BC.62  Essex
BC.63  Gloucestershire
BC.64  Hampshire & the Isle of Wight
BC.65  Herefordshire
BC.66  Hertfordshire
BC.67  Kent
BC.68  Lancashire
BC.69  Leicestershire
BC.70  Lincolnshire
BC.72  Norfolk
BC.73  Northamptonshire
BC.74  Northumbria
BC.75  Nottinghamshire
BC.76  Oxfordshire
BC.77  Rutland
BC.78  Shropshire
BC.79  Somerset
BC.80  Staffordshire
BC.81  Suffolk
BC.82  Surrey
BC.83  Sussex
BC.84  Warwickshire
BC.85  Wiltshire
BC.86  Worcestershire
BC.87  Yorkshire
BC.91  Channel Islands
BC.95  Isle of Man

Other Useful IHR Collections
The history of London has its own collections within the IHR and can be found under the classmark BL. Our Irish, Scottish and Welsh collections all have large local history sections within them. See also our guide to map holdings.

Other IHR Departments
Victoria County History
Centre for Metropolitan History

Other Relevant Institutions and Resources