The Victoria County History or VCH is a national project to write the authoritative local history of every English place. Founded in 1899: it is without doubt the greatest publishing project in English history. It can be accessed both in printed form in the familiar red volumes – and increasingly online. A more recent initiative has been to publish single place studies: ‘VCH Shorts’.
Whether in a library or at home, where VCH has been completed it forms the point of entry into the history of a place for local residents, historians, genealogists, planners and heritage managers and the merely curious. It is also invaluable for school and university History students.
VCH volumes are readily found in larger libraries but an increasing number are now available online (without any subscription) through British History Online. VCH is managed by a small Central Office based in the Institute of Historical Research of the University of London: the national VCH website includes details of VCH’s activities in other counties where it is active.