Dr David Starkey launches royal rededication of famous Victoria County History series to HM Queen Elizabeth II

Monday 18 June 2012

Famous local history publishing project inspired by Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897

Image of Her Majesty the Queen courtesy of Photographer Russell SachDr David Starkey will launch the rededication to Her Majesty the Queen of the Victoria History of the Counties of England (VCH) by delivering The Marc Fitch Lecture in the Chancellor’s Hall of Senate House, University of London on Monday 25th June.

The Victoria County History is the greatest publishing project in local history and has offered encyclopaedic coverage of English counties and localities in a series of handsome red volumes ever since it began in 1899. Its founders were inspired by Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee to create this great national history, comparable in scale and authority with the Dictionary of National Biography and the Oxford English Dictionary, and its royal connections were established through the advocacy of Queen Victoria’s son-in-law, the Marquess of Lorne, a published author with an interest in history and science. According to contemporary publicity, Queen Victoria commanded that the History should be called after her, and it continues to bear her name. The first volume (on Hampshire) to be published in 1900 was dedicated to the Queen, with volumes published after her death inscribed to her memory.

This year, as we celebrate another Diamond Jubilee, Her Majesty the Queen has graciously permitted the University of London to rededicate the Victoria County History in celebration of this historic event. The dedication reads:


A VCH Wiltshire volume displaying the new dedication was presented to Her Majesty the Queen to commemorate the visit she made with the Duke of Edinburgh to Salisbury on 1st May; another volume is to be presented to her on behalf of VCH Oxfordshire at Henley-on-Thames on 25th June. 

Dr Starkey’s lecture – ‘Head of our Morality’: why the modern British monarchy matters – will be introduced by Professor Geoffrey Crossick, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London and eminent historian.  Dr Starkey’s lecture will be available as a podcast at bit.ly/LRoLrm from 28th June.


Photos available of Her Majesty The Queen receiving a VCH Wiltshire Volume
VCH Diamond Jubilee news and images, including the Wiltshire event and details of our commemorative publication, can be found on www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/diamond-jubilee-2012

For a print quality file of the image of HM The Queen and permission to use, please contact the photographer and copyright holder, Russell Sach
Mobile: 0771 882 6138    E-Mail: russell.sach@virgin.net

Contact Information
For further information about the VCH or the lecture: contact Rebecca Read on 020 7862 8770 rebecca.read@sas.ac.uk or Elizabeth Williamson on 020 7862 8777 elizabeth.williamson@sas.ac.uk; about the Jubilee publication contact Jessica Davies on 020 7862 8776 jessica.davies@sas.ac.uk

Notes for Editors

  1. Dr David Starkey, CBE
    Dr David Starkey is the UK's leading constitutional and monarchy expert who lectured in international history at the London School of Economics from 1972 until 1998. He is currently an Honorary Fellow at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. Dr Starkey has written several books (including Rivals in Power, The Reign of Henry VIII; Elizabeth: Apprenticeship, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Monarchy of England Volume 1: The Beginnings, and Monarchy: From the Middle Ages to Modernity), but is perhaps best known for his Channel 4 television documentary series which include Henry VIII of England, Elizabeth I of England and The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and Monarchy.  Born in Kendal, he is a patron of the Cumbria County History Trust which supports VCH research in Cumbria.
  2. The Marc Fitch Lecture
    An annual lecture, open to all, has been organised in London on behalf of the Victoria County History by the Institute of Historical Research for over a decade. Eminent historians, including Sir Roy Strong, Professor Linda Colley and Professor John Morrill, have spoken on themes related to the VCH’s interests. The lecture is sponsored by The Marc Fitch Fund. In 2012-13 annual Marc Fitch Lectures will take place in counties where the VCH is active.
  3. The Marc Fitch Fund
    Founded in 1956 by Marcus Felix Brudenell Fitch, CBE, DLitt, Hon FBA, FSA (1908-1994), the Marc Fitch Fund is an educational charity, governed by a Council of Management who are the charity’s trustees. It offers small grants towards research and publication projects whose primary focus is on regional and local history within the British Isles. The Fund has supported the work of the Victoria County History for several decades.
  4. Victoria County History (VCH)
    The Victoria County History is the greatest publishing project in English local history. Since 1899, the VCH has been creating an encyclopaedic history of the counties of England, based on original research.  More than 230 distinctive large red volumes have been published, providing fully referenced accounts of each city, town, and village, as well as articles on topics such as natural, ecclesiastical and economic history. Much material for VCH books and websites is now contributed by volunteers working alongside academics and other experts. Such community involvement was enabled by a Heritage Lottery-funded project (England's Past for Everyone) run by the VCH from 2005-10. That project initiated the VCH Explore website and a series of thematic paperback books published by Phillimore. The VCH main series of red volumes are published for the University of London by Boydell & Brewer (www.boydell.co.uk). Many of the volumes are available free on British History Online (www.british-history.ac.uk). www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk
  5. The Victoria County History 1899-1900: a Diamond Jubilee Celebration (ISBN 978-1-905165-73-5)
    A publication tracing some of the lesser known aspects of the early history of the VCH, such as the importance of women for its research success, the expert contributions on natural history and the achievement of keeping the series alive despite two World Wars. The special character and research of VCH counties and notable contributors to VCH success as a scholarly project are highlighted, in order to spread the word about our present activities as well as our past achievements. Copies as a print-on-demand paperback or e-book can be obtained from SAS Publications, University of London, London WC1E 7HU
  6. The Institute of Historical Research (IHR)
    The VCH is managed from the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), School of Advanced Study, University of London. The IHR, under its Director, Professor Miles Taylor, offers a wide range of services to historians from the UK and around the world. The IHR promotes excellence in scholarship and teaching through its library, seminars, conferences, fellowships, training, publications and research.